First reading Zechariah 9:9-10

See now, your king comes humbly to you

The Lord says this:
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you;
he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish chariots from Ephraim
and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.
 

Responsorial Psalm 144(145):1-2,8-11,13b-14

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
or
Alleluia!
 
I will give you glory, O God my king,
  I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day
  and praise your name for ever.
 
The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
  slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
  compassionate to all his creatures.
 
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
  and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
  and declare your might, O God.
 
The Lord is faithful in all his words
  and loving in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall
  and raises all who are bowed down.
 

Second reading Romans 8:9,11-13

If by the Spirit you put an end to the misdeeds of the body, you will live

Your interests are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him, and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.
  So then, my brothers, there is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives. If you do live in that way, you are doomed to die; but if by the Spirit you put an end to the misdeeds of the body you will live.
 

Gospel Matthew 11:25-30

You have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little children

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
  ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
 

Reflection

The words spoken by Jesus in today’s Gospel are among his most moving invitations to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed. He invites us to come and find rest in his love. His invitation is all the more moving when we read it in context. Jesus’ heart has gone out to the people who are harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd, but he has just been rejected by the leaders, the very ones who are failing to care for the people and, in God’s name, are laying burdens on them that are too heavy to carry.

Jesus invites us to come to him. We still have to suffer the burdens of life, but if we come to Jesus we will find that the yoke sits easily on our shoulders and we can carry the burden, for it is fitted to us, and Jesus is carrying it with us.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm consists of a few verses from Psalm 145. The whole psalm is an expression of delight in who God is. Even in the few verses selected for today, we hear the psalmist claiming that God is kind. Twice he speaks of God’s compassion – a word that in the original Hebrew language comes from the word for the womb. God is like a mother who feels every movement of the child whom she enfolds in her womb.

The psalmist goes on to express his amazement at how long-suffering God is, putting up with our slowness to believe his love for us. By giving us existence, God has committed himself, like a father or a mother, to love us unconditionally. God, we are told, is ‘abounding in love’, ‘faithful’ and ‘gracious’. He ‘supports all who fall and raises all who are bowed down’.

we can see what the psalmist sees, but we need more than our eyes to do so. We see with the heart when it is in touch with its longing, and when it is enlightened by faith. We are invited to this faith by Paul in today’s Second Reading. He speaks of the Spirit of Jesus making his home in us and giving life to our bodies. This, too, is the point of Jesus’ words in the Gospel.

He wants us to see God as our Father, our Mother – the one who truly does ‘support all who fall and raise all who are bowed down’. And that we might do so he invites us to come to him and to learn from him to see God’s presence in our lives drawing us, through joy and pain, closer to his heart. In this faith we will find rest for our souls till we see him in all his beauty, face to face.

Fr Michael Fallon msc