FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
"Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus - a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”
The rhythm of life comes not without uncertainties and surprises against our personal wishes and plans. Pain, burden and suffering are the bitter side of life we grudgingly taste. One will see it as a jinx if a friend dares to bring such topics in discussions. But in the realities of life, these are simply indispensable and part of the flow of the current of the water of life. Man does not own and control life, but rather life owns and controls man. As Christians, our response and approach to these unfortunate circumstances are the most significant. How do you respond to someone who is going through pain, burden or suffering? Even if it is you, what do you do?
Our first reading presents to us the unfortunate situation of the Jews under the oppression of Alexander the Great (King of the Greeks, 333BC) in Palestine. They were treated without justice, liberty and peace. So the prophecy of Zecheriah was a message of consolation. He promised a meek Messianic King of peace, who would give them rest and liberty. He empathized with them that the Lord would conquer their foes and liberate them. He would rule not with imperialism but with justice and fidelity to the invisible King - God. A time would come when the enslaved people would have their long-awaited prosperity, stability and peaceful days.
As Christians, we are encouraged to show care for people facing troubles in life. We are to console, empathize and encourage to increase hope for better days to come. And if any of us is battling with any insurmountable crisis in life, let us always look up to God and draw our strength. For there is nothing impossible before God. No condition is permanent. Just have faith and trust in God; your story will change one day!
Always remember this from the Psalmist, ”The Lord is faithful in all His Words and holy in all His works. The Lord lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:13-14).
In our second reading, Paul dichotomizes between the yoke of the ”flesh” and the yoke of the ”spirit.” He challenges us to reject the former and accept the latter. This is because if we belong to Christ, the Spirit of God dwells in us. Christ sets us free. We have been rescued by Him. With Christ we are bonded by love which brings us together, working against the yoke of the ”flesh” (human weakling inclinations, etc.) with the strength of the Holy Spirit; making us eligible to our loving Father in Heaven. Christ is the answer to our pains, burdens and sufferings in life. Indeed, a life without Christ is full of crises!
Lastly, the gospel reading summarizes everything as Jesus Christ offers to those ”who labor and are burdened” to come to Him. He makes our yoke easy and burden light. By this, He admonishes us that love and care make even the hardest burden light. We should rely and depend upon Him with personal and family prayers to deal with the pains, burdens and sufferings in our lives. With Him, we are freed from unnecessary burdens. Just give Christ a chance and see the difference! Christ will not disappoint you. You are not abandoned. Christ is working and walking with you. You are not alone.
Happy Independence Day to the people of America. May God bless those who stand for liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Blessings and love to all my Family, Friends and Faithful. May God bless America. Peace and Love.
Stay Healthy.. PRAY... Keep the faith... Enjoy the July 4th!
Let Christ lead...
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.