Tuesday - Easter Time
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
you demand much of us, your Church,
by calling us to be witnesses
of your Son and of his message,
although we are men and women
who share in the sin of the world.
Send us your Holy Spirit
to open us all the time
to renewal and conversion,
that your Church may show to the world
the true face of Jesus Christ
your Son and our Lord for ever.
2) Gospel Reading - 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 little 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.'
● The context of chapter 11 of Matthew, from which today’s Gospel is taken. In today’s Gospel, Jesus receives and accepts the little ones and manifests the desire that the poor find rest and peace. Because of this option for the poor and for the excluded, Jesus was criticized and persecuted. Many persons were not capable to understand him. John the Baptist himself, who looked at Jesus with the look of the past, was doubtful (Mt 11, 1-15). The people, who looked at Jesus with an interested purpose, did not know how to accept him (Mt 11, 16-19). The large cities around the lake, which heard the preaching of Jesus and saw his miracles, did not want to accept his message (Mt 11, 20-24). The wise and the Doctors, who judged everything according to their own science, were not capable to understand him (Mt 11, 25). Only the little ones understood and accepted the Good News of the Kingdom (Mt 11, 25-30).
● Matthew 11, 25-26: The Gospel revealed to the little ones. In the face of this contradiction which marked his life, Jesus recited this prayer: “I bless you, Father, Lord of Heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children.” The wise, the Doctors, impelled by an erroneous idea of God, had created a series of laws which they imposed upon the people in the name of God. But the Law of love, brought by Jesus, said the contrary. What is important is not what we do for God, but rather that which God, in his great love does for us! The people who were poor, the little ones, understood this message of Jesus and felt joy. The wise thought that Jesus was mistaken. They could not understand this teaching. And Jesus ends: Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do! The Father is pleased that the wise and the intelligent do not understand the message. If they want to understand it, they should become disciples of the little ones, of the poor and of the excluded.
● Matthew 11, 27: The Son knows the Father and reveals him to whom he wants. Jesus, the Son, knows the Father. He knows what the Father wanted when, centuries before, he gave the Law to Moses. What the Father wants to tell us is revealed by Jesus, and Jesus reveals it to little ones, because they open themselves to his message.
● Matthew 11, 28-30: Come to me all you… Jesus invites all those who are tired because of the weight of the law, of the observance and of the taxes, and promises rest. He says: “Learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart”. Many times, this phrase has been manipulated to ask people for submission, meekness and passivity. Jesus wants to say exactly the contrary. He asks that people leave aside the professors of religion of that time and to begin to learn from him, from Jesus who is “meek and humble of heart” Jesus is not like the Scribes who vainglory about their science, but rather is as the people who live humiliated and exploited. Jesus, the new teacher, knows from experience what takes place in people and what the people suffer. Jesus is the refuge which the Father offers to the tired people!
● The communities of the time of Matthew were in a very difficult and dangerous moment; they were getting out of the closed world of observance and of sacrifices and were journeying toward the open world of love and of mercy. We also find ourselves in a difficult moment, in a new moment, in a new way of being Christians. Today’s Gospel is a mirror of what happens in our communities. We also want our communities to be the refuge which the Father offers to the tired and poor people. This is why it is important to allow the Father to take our lives and that we can say together with Jesus: “We, sons and daughters, we know the Father, and the Father knows us!” It is only in this way that we can be a contemplative and prophetic presence in the midst of the poor people.
4) Personal questions
● Science can help and can prevent us from recognizing and accepting the message of Jesus. What dominates particularly in my life?
● The little ones hear and accept the message. Have I learnt from them something which I did not know?
5) Concluding Prayer
Praise Yahweh from the heavens,
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host! (Ps 148,1-2)