JULY 18, 2002- HOMILY: Matthew 11:28- 30 

COME TO ME, ALL YOU WHO ARE STRUGGLING AND ARE BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.  All of us are familiar with this saying of our Lord. It has rightly been considered to provide a glimpse into the merciful heart of our Savior. He consistently showed a sensitive sympathy for the poor, the sick, the weak, those who were marginal to good society.  We do well today as we reflect on this text, to bring to mind that, sooner or later each of us will find himself or herself to be one of this group considered insignificant for one reason or another. Sickness, a bad accident, old age and its attendant weaknesses- each of these transpose so many who were at the center of lives into the shadows. Only those who are particularly disposed to be loyal, who have a special concern for the unfortunate, the unhappy devote themselves to those who are of little consequence to the world. There is nothing to be gained by such efforts in the way of temporal gain or pleasure.  

To display the kind of mercy Jesus speaks of here we must carry out the injunction he adds to his invitation: ‘Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.’ We cannot hope to find the kind of rest that truly satisfies our spirit unless we enter into the deep places of the heart and in light of his example and teaching strive to remove all that is selfish and proud. Those of us who have been working at this arduous task for many years know how demanding it is. It is more than we can manage alone. But here at the Eucharist we are confident that we can find all the helps we need to prove apt pupils in this school of the Lord. Let us apply ourselves today and every day to learning this difficult assignment. If we master it by the help of his grace only after long years of effort it will be soon enough. For our hope will always be anchored, not in any achievement we might attain to, but in the merciful heart of our Savior. Once again in today’s Gospel he invites us to put our trust in him, to come to him with confidence that from his hand and from his heart we shall obtain that fulfillment of our hopes and desires which alone will give rest to our souls.

  Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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