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Pastor's Letter 20200705 - 05 July 2020 Come to Me, All You Who Labor

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July 5th, 2020

14th Sunday, Ordinary Time

A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:  “Come to Me, All You Who Labor”


Scripture Note

 Today’s First Reading (Zaechariah 9:9-10,) portrays the Messianic King as a humble and gentle champion of peace for all people, not as a warrior.  As such, His mission was to put an end to war and establish peace.  It was as such a Messiah that Jesus entered Jerusalem, before His passion. Today’s Gospel reveals the fulfillment of this prophecy, as Jesus lightens the burdens of the poor and brings peace to the humble (Matthew 11:25-30.)  His life was based upon His unique relationship with the Father—one which He wants to share with His disciples.  Meanwhile, we hear from Paul as he contrasts life “in the Spirit” with that lived “in the flesh” (Romans 8:9-13.)

Jesus Reveals the Father

 It gives us joy to know an important person.  However, “to know” simply means learning “the facts” about someone—in fact, a very shallow understanding of them.  To “really know” another means to have a relationship based on trust and love, with the understanding that we also are known and loved in return. 

In his biography of George Washington, Richard Brookhiser writes:

“George Washington is with us every day, on our dollar bills and our quarters. He looks down on us from Mount Rushmore.  In the national capital that bears his name, he has the most prominent memorial.  More schools, streets and cities bear his name than that of any other American, and historians rank him among the greats presidents America has had. 

“However, the omnipresence of Washington does not translate into familiarity.  He is in our textooks and our wallets, but not in our hearts.  The fault is partly Washington’s, since he tended to distance himself from the people.” 

Some people have an image of God as Someone “distant and remote,” not really concerned about us and our sufferings.  Worse still, others perceive God as a judge or a spy, ready “to pounce and to punish.” (Of course, these human constructs were developed by mortal minds over millennia in an attempt to understand the essence of Something actually “unknowable” to us.  We have come to understand “God” as a metaphysical Entity, beyond time and space; but only through “humanizing” Him can we begin to appreciate how He might relate to our lives.)

However, Jesus “knows” the Father, and is, in turn, “known” by Him, something that filled Him with quintessential joy.  Because he knows the Father, He is able to reveal Him to human beings, who, like children, are willing to be open and receptive.  Jesus revealed God as a loving, compassionate, forgiving Father—THE ONE, TRUE God, Who is passionately interested in us; a God Whose concern is not to judge and condemn, but to heal and to save.

Throughout history, many so-called “wise” people have rejected Jesus, but the simplest people have accepted Him.  Prideful intellectuals have had little use for God, which can be a dangerous position.  Simple people are often nearer to God than are “clever people.”  Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever, and revealing them to mere children” (Matthew 11:25.)  We should note that Jesus did not condemn intellectual power.  It is not our cleverness that shuts out God; rather, it is our pride. And it is not stupidity that enables God to come to us—but our humility.  The very reason Jesus came to earth is to enable us to relate to God—something of which our human minds alone are incapable.  Because of His coming, we no longer see God as someone remote.  We see Him as an omnipresent Entity, Who is very close to us; Who knows each of us; and is concerned about each of us; because we are His children.  He is, especially, the God of the weak, the poor and the overburdened—conditions every one of us has experienced at some time in our lives.  When faith is a matter of the intellect, alone, it becomes cold, and cerebral.  But faith is not just a matter of mind—rather, it is more a matter of the heart.  When faith is rooted in the heart, God is seen as close and loving, becoming a warm relationship with God.  To know God in this way should be a cause of great joy to us.  God is like a never-ending Spring within us, from Which we can drink and refresh ourselves.

  Strength in Weakness

 As referred to, above, today's Liturgy of the Word begins with an image of a king coming humbly to Zion, riding on a donkey—a messenger of peace—something mirrored for us in Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, unarmed and defenseless.  But just because Jesus carried no weapons, He was not weak.  Rather, His strength over the human heart was competently shown when He changed the hearts of so many people during his earthly ministry.  In our own history, people like Hitler and Stalin could make people tremble, but they could not change their hearts. 

Jesus said, “Learn from Me, for I am weak and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29.) Humility and gentleness don’t seem to hold much sway in today’s troubled world.  A person who portrays gentility, risks people “walking all over” them, as it tends to be equated with timidity, passivity and weakness.

But gentility is NOT a form of weakness.  In fact, nothing is as strong as gentleness, nor as gentle as real strength.  One must be a strong and self-confident person to be gentle.  One of the most admired qualities in a human being is gentleness.  One need only think of the loving hands of a mother or a surgeon to comprehend this maxim.  In our deepest souls we all pine for gentleness; we can’t open up and grow without it.  In the words of Henri Nouwen: “A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly and touches with reverence.”  Gentle people know that healing and growth result from a nurturing manner, not from force.

It has been shown that human lust for power is rooted in weakness, not strength.  Only those who are spiritually weak measure their worth by the number of people they can dominate.  Only weaklings “puff themselves up” and try to act strong; “tough people” many times hide their vulnerabilities behind a false bravado.

There was no harshness in Jesus—He had a very gentle approach to people.  He didn’t force Himself on anyone; or try to control them; or impose His will upon them.  He respected their freedom.  People with the greatest influence over others have no need to control those they influence…. 

Humility is seen as weakness in today’s world, wherein we are told to project ourselves as if we want “to go places.” (This should not be confused with, or perceived as a criticism for, presenting a positive, confident nature when we focus on attaining worthy goals, however.)  But, humility, like gentility is another aspect of true strength.  It is the foundation upon which to build the "temple of the Spirit."  Humility does not involve self-deprecation.  It is the grateful recognition of one’s goodness; acknowledgement of which recognizes humility as yet another gift from our Creator. 

Jesus promised peace of the soul to those who are sincerely gentle and humble .  We have so much trouble in our homes and in our world today because we know so little about being gentle with one another.  We want to dominate others, and to disparage contrary views.  Humility has within it the ability to recognize other people’s worth, as well.    But it is because we know so little about humility that we have so little peace within ourselves and with others.  Proud and arrogant people spread confusion and unrest by projecting onto others their anger and frustrations.  In contrast, humble people “disarm” fear and hostility in others and bring out the best in them. 

In contrast, people who are proud and insensitive make life burdensome everyone.  The saints of old have urged us to “acquire inner peace, from which a multitude of people will find salvation near you.”


The Lord said: “Come to me.” 

But I replied, “I’m not worthy.

“Come to me,” He repeated. 

And I said, “I’m afraid.”

“Come to me.”  “…I’m too proud.”

“Come to me.”  ”…But I’ve no appointment.”

“Come to me.”  “…But I can’t afford the time, right now.”

“Come to me.”    With that, I fell silent.

He continued: “Come…sit down…take a load off your feet.  Sit here as in the shade of a tree. 

Refresh yourself as at a running stream.  Here you will find rest. 

Here you will find peace, and your yoke will become easy, and your burden light.”


Let us pray:  “God of love and mercy, grant us the ability to reach out to Your Holy Spirit for help in all our tasks…for guidance in all our doubts...for strength in all our weaknesses…for consolation in all our sorrows…and Your protection in all our dangers.”

  May God Richly Bless You!

Humility and knowledge in poor clothes excel pride and ignorance in costly attire.  William Penn

You may view a live stream of today's Readings here: https://www.facebook.com/michael.schamp.9/videos/3412989932058823/?d=n

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