Ps 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14 /
Rom 8:9, 11-13 /Matt 11:25-30
Refreshments are always welcome especially after one has been working hard. Sometimes you need to splash water on your face to freshen up. Even on a PC there is a function called “refresh.” But how great to have a friend who can refresh us – this is Jesus. In the gospel today, (Matthew 11:25-30) Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will refresh you.” Only a God-man can say that and mean it. Recently we have celebrated as Church the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When we enter into the Sacred Heart of Jesus what do we find? A lot of love of course! A lot of love for you and for me.
Once I was busy preparing for a conference to give with some elements of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” in it. I was also preparing a homily, writing letters and so on. I am sure we all experience those moments of being quite busy. In one moment of prayer I went to the chapel and prayed with those words of Jesus, “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will refresh you.” It worked! What Jesus tells us is true. Afterwards I experienced new energy to continue. In the Word of God it says, “Cast all your worries on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Imagine that. We have a God who cares for us, who is concerned for us. My God cares for me. And he cares for you too!
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is really on fire for each one of us and for humanity. In one moment of the life of Jesus, he exclaimed, “I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it was already blazing!” (Luke 12:49). How is our heart for Jesus? On fire too? In front of God we can be a little afraid at times – what will he tell me to do, what will he command me. Would you be surprised if instead of a command, instead of telling you what to do he asked you a question? We would be rather unsettled! Sometimes we prefer a God or a religion that just tells us what to do and what not to do. But what if God were to ask you the same question he asked those first followers, “What are you looking for?” What would you answer? Could you answer? Even Jesus once asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Sometimes in studies we know exactly what we want—to pass the exam, pass second year, then graduate, get a job here . . . or in the work place, many companies will have a vision-mission statement with goals, strategies and targets. But when it comes to the spiritual life often we can be rather lackluster, living without intentionality and somehow drifting along. But if we need challenges in the arenas of studies and work/career, don’t we also need them in our spiritual lives?
Let us ask for the grace to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to merely enjoy our lives knowing we are loved by Jesus. True love desires a response. “If you love me, feed my sheep,” said Jesus to Peter. The lover loves the beloved but the beloved on experiencing this love will naturally want to love the lover in return. A step of maturity is not only to feel loved but to respond to that love. Like the three questions of St Ignatius, “What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What should I do for Christ?” It reminds me of the wedding feast of Cana. Mary told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
What can you do to show your love for Jesus? Come on, take the risk while we still have time! One day when we are in heaven we will regret all those missed opportunities. As St Alphonsus Liguori commented, “If the Saints in heaven could cry there is only one thing they would be sad about. That they did not use their time more productively on earth.” Thanks, St Alphonsus, for reminding us that life is short, time is precious and that Jesus values all our efforts to make him more known and loved.
Let us enjoy this day, a day when Jesus reassures us not to worry if our endeavours for the Kingdom will be challenging and may even tire us. “Come to me if you get tired running the race and fighting the good fight and I will surely refresh you because you are doing my work!” And may Mother Mary help us to be more faithful to what our Lord is asking us. Amen.