GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings) DATE: 9TH JULY 2017
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 9TH JULY 2017
FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
FIRST READING: Zechariah 9:9-10
PSALM: Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
SECOND READING: Romans 8:9, 11-13
GOSPEL: Matthew 11:25-30
THEME: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CHRIST
Different people have different reasons why they come looking for ‘Christ’ in our churches. A good number of people seek Christ not because they want to become like him but because they want to get something from him and go away. It is akin to a supermarket where one walks in, buys and walks out without any personal relationship with the owner of the shop. Consequently, there are many unrepentant seekers of Christ in our churches today.
The Gospel text begins with the expression, “At that time”. The immediate context for the ‘time’ being referred to is one of unbelief. Towns like Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had witnessed the mighty deeds of Jesus and yet there were not much signs of repentance coming from there (cf. Mt 11:20-24). Throughout his public ministry, Jesus had to face stiff opposition from groups like the scribes and Pharisees who were regarded as the ‘wise and the learned’ of that epoch. In the melee of unbelief, unrepentance and rejection, Jesus said: ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children”(Matt. 11:25).
The whole personality of Jesus was a stumbling block for many of his Jewish contemporaries. He did not belong to any of the existing recognised religious groups in Israel. Not much was known of his immediate family except the fact that he was a ‘son of a carpenter’. He appeared not to have had any particular formal training under any recognised rabbi. In the eyes of many, he was too ordinary to be the Messiah. The ordinariness and humble attitude of Jesus resonate well with the prophetic description of the Messiah by Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9 ).
In place of the law that had been complicated by scribal interpretations, Jesus offers himself as the way to salvation: “Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29). In other words, he invites his audience to emulate him.
The goal of discipleship is to become like “Christ”. When the Spirit of Christ is in us we no longer live according to the dictates of the flesh but according to the will of the Father (see Second Reading). Our lives are guided by Christ and we imbibe and cultivate virtues like humility, obedience and faith.
It is only in the footsteps of Christ, that a disciple of Christ can be sure of going where the master is and thereby finding rest for his/her soul.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I turn to you for salvation. I lay at your feet all my cares and burdens and ask for the grace to follow you closely and to become like you in all things. Amen
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).