37. A Flash of Joy (Matthew 11:25-30)
“This Spirit, the dispenser of the treasures that are in the Father and keeper of the counsels that are between the Father and the Son, pours himself so sweetly into the soul that he is not perceived, and his greatness is understood by few.” - St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi
Matthew 11:25-30: At that time Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
Christ the Lord After reflecting on those who reject him and his message, Jesus now takes comfort in thinking of those who accept him. In his prayer of thanksgiving, he gives us yet another glimpse of his utter uniqueness.
He alone among men “knows the Father,” because he alone is the Son. Therefore, no one can reveal God to us as he can. If we want to know God, as every human heart does (consciously or not), we have only one recourse: Jesus Christ. Christ’s Lordship derives from his very identity as God, not from some extrinsic privilege. And so, if we go to him, look to him, study him, speak with him, follow him, delve into his teachings, and query those who have come to know him better than we have, we will be discovering God himself. If we lift our minds up to him, we will begin to think and see as he does, and if we give him our hearts, we will allow him to take the reins of our lives. God wants to be known and loved, and so he sent us Jesus Christ to be his self-revelation.
Christ the Teacher Since every heart innately yearns for God, this Gospel passage ought to be prized above all others, for it teaches us the secret for satisfying that yearning. To encounter God requires only one thing. Not intellectual prowess, worldly excellence, or sophisticated achievements, but simplicity. God gives himself to those who are “mere children” – to those who are childlike. The mark of children is not innocence; most often they are quite mischievous. It is not ignorance, for they often surprise us with their insights and thoughtful questions. Nor is it helplessness, for many of them are streetwise survivors, as often seen in situations of poverty and war.
The mark of the child is trust. Children readily put their trust in those given charge over them (until that trust is violated). It is natural for children to depend on their parents, to follow unquestioningly their older siblings. They have not yet developed the average adult’s haughty air of self-sufficiency. By word and example (as for example in the Garden of Gethsemane) Jesus teaches us that intimacy with God requires trust above all. Faith is trusting that what God reveals is true; hope is trusting that what he promises will come about; love is trusting that what he asks us to do is what we should do. If we put our trust in God, and not in ourselves, we will find God.
Christ the Friend Pulling weeds for a whole day all by oneself is a wearisome thing. But working side-by-side with a good friend considerably lessens the weariness. Life lays upon us many burdens, which our own selfish tendencies make doubly hard. Jesus Christ wants to bear them with us, softening them with his wise humility, walking by our side as the best of friends. Those who have accepted his invitation and hitched their life to his under the same yoke, like two oxen pulling a plough together, have discovered the difference. They are called saints, and their joy never wanes, not in this life and not in the next.
Christ in My Life I want to know you, Lord. I want to know what you care about, what you think about, what’s on your mind and in your heart. I want to know what makes you smile, what makes you frown. I want to discover the God who created me – who created all things. Jesus, your face reveals God’s face. Open my eyes, Lord, let me see you…
Lord, I know you don’t judge me, because you promise that you are meek and lowly of heart. How hard it is for me not to judge! How much grief I cause myself and others by my outbursts of vanity, arrogance, and anger! I want to learn from you, Lord, and I know you want to teach me. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart more like yours…
Lord, why do I think I can do everything by myself? You designed me to need other people, to help other people, and to depend upon God for everything. This is the law of your universe. Like a little child in its mother’s arms, so I keep myself in you, O Lord. Teach me to trust you and to obey your will. Thy Kingdom come…
please consider supporting our mission with a donation!