FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
In the first reading, Zechariah paints a picture of a gentle, meek and peaceful Messiah. This image is fulfilled in the portrayal of Jesus in the Gospel, where he describes himself as meek and humble of heart. In the second reading, Paul calls the Romans to live in the spirit of Jesus.
FIRST READING: Zechariah 9:9-10
These verses are chosen for this Sunday because they describe a meek and humble Messiah, which Jesus is—meek and humble like the figure described in this reading―without pomp and majesty. The meek donkey is contrasted to the warrior horse which is a symbol of war. Zion (another name for Jerusalem) will shout for joy when the King arrives in the city—not as a mighty conquering warrior but as a just Savior who will banish war and institute peace.
SECOND READING: Romans 8:9, 11-13
Paul continues his discussion on baptism. Living out one’s baptism means that one will live in the spirit of Jesus as opposed to “living in the flesh.” To live “life in the flesh” is to live life independent of God: self-sufficient and self-reliant with no relationship with God. On the contrary, one who uses his/her personal freedom to tune in and respond to the leadings of the Holy Spirit lives a “life in the spirit” which is centered on God and his values. Life in the flesh leads to death whilst life in the spirit leads to eternal life.
GOSPEL: Matthew 11:25-30
This Gospel begins with Jesus’ shout of joy, not on account of the so-called “wise and learned” who do not recognize his true identity, but for the “little ones” with humble and open hearts who “get it.” A ‘know-it-all’ attitude is a huge block hindering us from receiving God’s self-revelation.
Jesus speaks about the special and unique relationship that exists between him and his Father. It is really a statement about the divinity of Christ. In Jesus we find the Wisdom of God. He reveals the mind and heart of God to us.
The passage ends with Jesus’ beautiful invitation to the “heavy burdened” to come to him. The Pharisees and scribes have made the Law of Moses a heavy burden by adding to it a multitude of legalisms. On another level, faith in Christ helps all of us to deal with the burdens of life.
Can you name any heavy burdens or crosses that have turned out to be a blessing?