From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
July 5 – Fourteenth Sunday Ordinary Time
We come into the celebration of our country’s independence this year in the midst of turmoil, confusion, pain and anger. It can be overwhelming to take everything in. The pandemic, the protests, statues being torn down, police brutalizing and murdering citizens, and police coming under attack – both figuratively and literally. Patients in nursing homes unable to see family, the economy has tumbled and violence has escalated across the country. Underlying it all is an incivility and outright hatred that dominates and drives our politics. We have lost all sense of humility, decency, compassion for one another, and mercy and forgiveness toward one another. And Jesus says to us, “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…” It is a message of love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness that is at odds with the ‘norms’ of society, especially today. Jesus is the very essence of the humility we have lost and the meekness we need so desperately. Take my yoke upon you he tells us. His yoke is that yoke of mercy and forgiveness fueled by unconditional love. He promises that if we do, we will have a safe landing (eternal life in heaven), but he does not promise smooth sailing for the trip. He has taken our sins upon himself that our load under his yoke is lightened and rest comes to us. We need to let go of our pride, our anger, our sinfulness – and embrace His mercy, His humility, His meekness.
As Vincentians, we are seeing so many neighbors who are also confronted by turmoil and fear in their lives. Sometimes they are burdened by unjust laws and economic systems. Sometimes they are burdened by judgements of their decisions and discrimination in all forms. Sometimes they are burdened by their own mistakes, lack of confidence and self-esteem, and lack of a support system. For some, it is the chaos of the pandemic bringing them strife. The question is, how do we lighten their load? Do we offer to them a yoke of mercy, compassion and forgiveness to overcome the rigidity of expectations? Do we offer them a better way that they might learn from us while we walk with them and give them rest? Do we come to them in humility and Christian love?
We give praise to you Father, lord of heaven and earth. Just as your son took upon himself the burden of our sins and transgressions, without question or hesitation, allow us to lighten the load of those whom you bring to us. Let us always offer them first your son Jesus that they may come to know the source of all love and mercy. As he has offered his yoke to us – a yoke of love compassion, mercy and forgiveness – let us find the courage to offer the same to others. Let us find ways to bring them hope by walking with them as we seek relief for them both from unjust systems as well as burdensome circumstances. Help us to humbly remember that you have everything we need to make us safe and unafraid. I come to you with my burdens. Help us to take up your yoke and share what you have asked of us – caring for others. I pray all of this in your Son’s name. Amen