DAILY GOSPEL AND COMMENTARY: “I AM MEEK AND HUMBLE OF HEART”
Gospel of Thursday, 15th week in Ordinary Time,
Jesus said: “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, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission).
28-30 Summary of ideas.
- Our Lord calls everyone to come to him.
- We all find things difficult in one way or another. The history of souls bears out the truth of these words of Jesus. Only the Gospel can fully satisfy the thirst for truth and justice which sincere people feel. Only our Lord, our Master — and those to whom he passes on his power – can sooth the sinner by telling him, “Your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2).
- In this connection Pope Paul VI teaches: “Jesus says now and always, ‘come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’. His attitude towards us is one of invitation, knowledge and compassion; indeed, it is one of offering, promise, friendship, goodness, remedy of our ailments; he is our comforter; indeed, our nourishment, our bread, giving us energy and life” (Homily on Corpus Christi, 13 June 1974).
- “Come to me”: the Master is addressing the crowds who are following him, “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36).
- The Pharisees weighed them down with an endless series of petty regulations (cf. Acts 15:10), yet they brought no peace to their souls.
- Jesus tells these people, and us, about the kind of burden he imposes: “Any other burden oppresses and crushes you, but Christ’s actually takes weight off you. Any other burden weighs down, but Christ’s gives you wings. If you take a bird’s wings away, you might seem to be taking weight off it, but the more weight you take off the more you tie it down to the earth. There it is on the ground, and you wanted to relieve it of a weight; give it back the weight of its wings and you will see how it flies” (St Augustine, Sermon 126).
- “All you that go about tormented, afflicted and burdened with the burden of your cares and desires, go forth from them, come to me, and I will refresh you and you shall find for your souls the rest which your desires take from you” (St John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, book I, chap. 7, 4).
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC 1: ARE YOU BESET DAILY WITH PROBLEMS THAT ARE TOO HEAVY TO CARRY?
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus’ invitation “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest’ was not only addressed to the Jews of His time, but to us, today. While Jesus was addressing the Jews who were overburdened by the strict implementation of the Jewish laws imposed on them by the authorities, He also speaks to us when we feel the many pressures and stresses of life hemming us in and weighing us down.
TOPIC 2: Do you have the necessary gentleness and humility to weather life’s problems?
In today’s gospel, Jesus invites us to come to Him when we are burdened with our own problems so that He may give us rest.
- But as a Rabbi, one of the titles that Jesus is called in the Bible, He teaches us two essential qualities that He has which we should have to enable us to weather life’s storms: Gentleness and Humility.
- One of the humblest leaders on the face of the earth was Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt and who planned the journey to the Promised Land. “Now the man Moses was very humble,[a] more so than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3). He encountered numerous problems during his leadership but He remained humble and reliant on God.
- In Galatians 5:22, there are nine fruit – used as collective singular noun here – of the Spirit that we should be growing in as we strive for holiness. These are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Humility is oftentimes interchanged with gentleness and meekness.
This is, perhaps, the secret to true happiness that we have ignored or missed in many of our teachings. The importance Jesus attaches to humility and our seeming lack of it has been a major factor in the problems and sufferings of the world.
Humility is defined as having a low self-preoccupation. It is the opposite of pride in all its forms – narcissm (having an excessive admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance) and hubris (excessive self-confidence), among others.
In order for us to understand humility, let us look at pride – the most capital of all sins – and reflect if in our own lives, we have deceived ourselves into thinking that we have not been a proud person.
No wonder, there are so many quotations on pride to remind us to be humble:
- None are so empty as those who are full of themselves. – Benjamin Whichcote
- A man wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package. – Anonymous
- An egoist is someone who is always me-deep in conversation. – Milton Berle
- Inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin … the root of pride is found to consist in man not being, in some way, subject to God and His rule. – St. Thomas Aquinas
- A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. – C.S. Lewis
- Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you. – Andrew Murray
- It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men angels. – St. Augustine
I like this from an ant riding on top of an elephant after crossing a bridge: Did you notice how we shook that bridge?
How do we exhibit pride? Well, because pride is the root of all other sins, it is all-encompassing:
- When we give credit to ourselves. When we brag to others about our kindness and goodness, oftentimes in ways that are subtle, deceptive and camouflaged but still directed to our “greatness.”
- When we accept credit from others. We may not be aware that as we do good things and people complement us, we may be indirectly promoting ourselves and forgetting to attribute these to God. We expect others to affirm us with profuse honoring such as liking our Facebook posts is an example of this.
- When we do not rejoice in the success of others. Prideful persons are too pre-occupied with themselves that they become envious and even “destructive” when others achieve.
A top-ranking British official once entertained a sophisticated but prideful lady in his home. By mistake, his assistant asked her to sit on his left side rather in the place of honor at his right hand. The visitor was offended and became very indignant. Turning to the general, she said, “I suppose you have real difficulty in getting your aide-de-camp to seat your guests properly at the table.” “Oh, not at all,” came the reply. “I have found that those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”
By constantly examining ourselves and turning all of our burdens to God, we may be able to discern the many pockets of pride we have in our emotional clothing. Let us empty those pockets through a prayerful attitude so that we can guard ourselves of our own prideful tendencies when they start to consume us. If we are able to rid ourselves of our pride, we become more gentle and humble people. More importantly, it leads us to holiness, the path to God’s heavenly kingdom.
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