14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 6, 2014 – Year A
Readings: Zec 9:9-10, Psalm 145, Rom 8:9, 11-13, Mt 11:25-30
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
The first time I had the opportunity to visit the city of New York, 17 years ago, my cousin took me to a restaurant called TGI Fridays – Thank God It’s Friday. My first reaction was, “Why would you only thank God on a Friday? Because the connotation is when Monday comes – Oh no, it’s Monday.” I’ve never seen a restaurant with the title “ONIM” – “Oh No, It’s Monday”. I don’t think people would be excited to eat dinner or have coffee at a restaurant with that name.
Somehow, when you hear the word “Friday” – it’s the last day of the working week – it gives you the feeling of relaxation or relief. The comedian Drew Carey once said, “Do you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? Because we have a support group for that. It’s called ‘everybody.’”
I disagree. I have met so many people who really love their job and can’t wait for Monday to be able to once again use their skills, abilities and whatever talent God gave them. But even people who love their jobs get tired every once in a while. Not so much perhaps from what they do, but perhaps the people they work with.
Three days ago I had a great time celebrating the night before 4th of July and we were talking about extroverts and introverts. Extroverts generally get energy from people. When they get tired, they want to go to a restaurant or a party. But introverts get their energy from being alone. So when an introvert is tired, don’t ask that person to go to a party. That will not help him or her. They want to be alone. That’s how they recharge.
But even extroverts claim that there are some people who exhaust their energy – even when they are around them for only a few minutes. And then there are other people who make you feel energized and feel good.
I guess these are just human differences, because we all have our good days and bad days. We have the high tide and low tide of our lives. On our good days, everything around us looks beautiful and good. But on our bad days, everything looks bad and everything is imperfect. But that is just reality.
That is why our Lord Jesus, knowing human nature, told his disciples, “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.”
Our Lord is our refuge. Right now we are inside the sanctuary of Holy Name of Mary, the place where we gather together to worship God. We are here because we know that God, who is the source of life, can recharge our spiritual batteries. When we are tired, we know that he is just a prayer away. He is spiritually present everywhere, but here in the Eucharist, he is physically, substantially and sacramentally present to give us strength.
He also gave us guidance on how to live our lives. The basic commandment is to love God and love our neighbors – and he told his followers, “Do this and you will live.” We are all here because we love God and we ask him to give us strength to be able to love others, most especially those who are difficult to love. But doing good for others is a reward in itself.
There is a book called, “The Healing Power of Doing Good.” The research showed that a good number of those who volunteer to help others and do good works were not only happier, but were even physically healed. For those of us who do volunteer work, we know how it feels to be able to do something without expecting anything in return. As our Lord said, “Whatever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you do to me.”
Whenever we feel tired, today’s Gospel reminds us of the great news that we can always go to him. During the Offertory, we will be singing the hymn, “Like a Shepherd.” The words from this hymn are taken from the books of the prophet Isaiah, Ezekiel and Matthew – which is today’s gospel. We will sing, “Like a shepherd, he feeds his flock and gathers the lambs in his arms, holding them carefully close to his heart.” And he asks us, “Come unto me if you are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus, our Savior and our Lord, is an oasis of comfort and love. Even after we go forth after this Mass, when we need him, he is just a prayer away.