A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday Liturgy
BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (# 32)
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – July 3, 2005
“Come to Me”
Zec 9:9-10 // Rom 8:9, 11-13 // Mt 11:25-30
I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS
The Gospel reading proclaimed in this Sunday’s assembly (Mt 11:25-30) is composed of two pericopes: on the mystery of the Kingdom revealed to the “little ones” (v. 25-27) and on the call of Jesus, the meek and humble of heart (verses 28-30). With this reading, the Church reminds the faithful that Jesus, the meek and humble one, reigns over all by the light of his wisdom and the yoke of his love. He is the instrument of revelation of the Father’s love. With Jesus, the yoke of submission to the divine saving will becomes easy and the burden resulting from the inexhaustible demands of the love of God and neighbor light. Indeed, those who surrender to the Father’s loving care experience the immense peace and serenity of the Kingdom of heaven.
The Gospel passage begins with Jesus’ prayer of thanksgiving addressed to his “Abba” – Father: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will” (v. 25-26). The authors of the Days of the Lord, vol. 4, explain: “It is likely that his experience as a teacher inspires this thanksgiving. He has stumbled against the lack of comprehension on the part of many who took offense at him. The cities along the Lake of Galilee, where he has performed so many miracles, have painfully disappointed him. But there are ‘the childlike’, who have welcomed the revelation that remained hidden from ‘the wise and the learned’. The childlike are the disciples and all those whom Jesus has declared ‘blessed’. Their welcome compensates for the lack of understanding and the rejection to such a degree that Jesus exclaims, I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” The authors of the Days of the Lord, vol. 4, also noted: “This prayer expresses the special intimacy Jesus entertains with the one he calls ‘Father’; he is the Son of God, whom he reverently calls ‘Lord of heaven and earth’. This prayer shows that to address God as ‘almighty’ does not exclude the closeness expressed by the name ‘Father’.”
In Mt 11:27, we read Jesus’ astounding assertion: “All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father, except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Harold Buetow comments: “It is a statement that is so lofty that one would expect it in the Gospel of John, whose symbol is the eagle … This principle, that only God the Father fully comprehends Jesus’ mission, and only Jesus fully understands God’s saving plan, is at the heart of Christianity. It is a principle that Jesus gradually reveals to the intellectually humble, open and trusting.” Jesus’ unique access to knowledge and love of God and intimate filial relationship make him the absolute revelation of God the Father. The “little ones”, in the lowliness of their faith and in their simplicity, openness and trust are those who are able to perceive in Jesus the true manifestation of God’s kindness and love.
The prayer of thanksgiving and Jesus’ assertion as the Father’s self-disclosure is followed by his compassionate invitation: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves” (Mt 11:28-30). Harold Buetow remarks: “The heart of Jesus’ message is ‘Come to me’ – a call to personal relationship. The shift from ‘Keep the law’ to ‘Come to me’ is a significant one. A religion, which is experienced only as adherence to legalistic impersonal norms and not as a joyful life-giving relationship with the Author of life is false. In coming to the person of Jesus, we discover that, far from being burdened, we are liberated … Love makes every burden light.”
by Roy Ramos
(Member: ASSOCIATION OF PAULINE COOPERATORS – Friends of the Divine Master, Antipolo Unit, Philippines)
As the final act of our commitment to be PAULINE COOPERATORS – Friends of the Divine Master, my wife and I made our “Promise” last May 8, 2005 and right that day I was approached by one of the APC-fdm members, Sol Tiotuico to contribute a reflection to the Lectio Divina that the PDDM Sisters put online every week. I readily accepted and admired Sol’s cleverness for the timing. She assigned me the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time and when I looked it up on the liturgical calendar, it falls on July 3 – my birthday. I realized that God has called me to duty instantly.
One of the commitments of a Pauline Cooperator, as indicated in the Promise we recited, is to have a living awareness of Christ’s life in us. In the four years of my formation, it occurred to me that my real purpose in joining is to have such life – a more mature spiritual relationship with our Lord – and a goal to achieve a “free from sin” state of life. We are called Christians because we are supposed to live like Christ and to have a heart like his heart. In Mt 11:28-30, Jesus was not only referring to our problems and the suffering we are carrying, he was also telling us that if we surrender to him, our sins will be forgiven, making the load in our hearts lighter. I remember Macarius, one Christian writer describing the heart of man as: The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet the dragons are there, and also lions. There are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. But there too is God, the angels, the life and the kingdom, the light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasuries of grace – all things are there.
Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light because all he has in his heart are things that are good and righteous. He does not have the “excess baggage” described by the Christian writer in the first two sentences. I may not have totally unloaded the “excess baggage in my heart, but as I have promised, the living awareness of Christ’s life in me, which is light and easy, I will always carry.
II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART
A. How does Jesus’ prayer of thanksgiving to the Father inspire us and give meaning to our lives?
B. Do we trust in Jesus as the true revelation of the Father? Are we the “little ones” who are willing to savor the rich and life-giving revelation of Jesus?
C. Do we give heed to Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28)? Are we ready to take up the yoke of the Father’s saving will and learn from him, who is “meek and humble of heart”? Do we relish and look forward to the gentle promise: “you will find rest for yourselves” (Mt 11:30)?
III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD
(Adapted from Commission Francophone Cistercienne, Tropaires des dimanches, 85 // cf. Days of the Lord, vol. 4, p. 119.)
Leader: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.” (Mt 11:25-26)
Assembly: Neither the violence of the powerful, nor the knowledge of the prudent, force the kingdom, but the weakness of the little ones and the patience of the humble fathom God’s secrets.
Leader: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” (Mt 11:27)
Assembly: You listen to the cry of the unfortunate; you welcome and hearten them. You direct the humble toward righteousness, you teach them your way.
Leader: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” (Mt 11:28-29)
Assembly: You hold fast to those who fall, you draw straight the overwhelmed. You reveal your face to children; you teach them praise.
IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD
The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” (Mt 11:28-29)
V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION
A. ACTION PLAN: Pray meditatively the prayer of thanksgiving addressed by Jesus to the Father and make it your own. Try to ease the suffering of a person who is deeply afflicted and endeavor to alleviate the toil and burden of the poor and destitute in the local and world community,
B. ACTION PLAN: That we may appreciate more deeply the promise of comfort of Jesus, the meek and humble of heart, and in view of a more meaningful Year of the Eucharist, make an effort to spend an hour in Eucharistic Adoration. Visit the PDDM WEB site (www.pddm.us) for the EUCHARISTIC ADORATION THROUGH THE LITURGICAL YEAR (# 32): A Weekly Pastoral Tool for the Year of the Eucharist.
Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang PDDM
PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI
SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER
60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323