Saturday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
you show your almighty power
in your mercy and forgiveness.
Continue to fill us with your gifts of love.
Help us to hurry towards the eternal life your promise
and come to share in the joys of your kingdom.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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.'
● Today, the feast of Saint Francis, the Gospel shows us the tenderness with which Jesus welcomes the little ones. He wanted the poor to find rest and peace. For this reason, Jesus was much criticized and persecuted. He suffered very much! The poor do not receive on the part of Christians the same tenderness that they received from Jesus at that time. For example, the whole African continent, the poorest of all, is abandoned by the rich countries of Europe and of North America which call themselves Christian.
The context in which we find this text in chapter XI of Matthew throws light on the rest. In it we see the contradiction which Jesus' action is causing. John Baptist, who looked at Jesus with the look of the past, cannot understand him (Mt 11, 1-15). The people who looked at Jesus with an interested purpose could not understand him (Mt 11, 16-19). The large cities around the Lake, which listened to the preaching of Jesus and saw his miracles, did not want to open themselves to his message (Mt 11, 20-24). The wise and the Doctors, who judged everything according to their own science, were not able to understand the preaching of Jesus (Mt 11, 25). His relatives did not understand him either (Mt 12,46-50). Only the little ones understood and accepted the Good News of the Kingdom (Mt 11, 25-30).
● Matthew 11, 25-26: Only the little ones understood and accepted the Good News of the Kingdom. Jesus then exclaimed in 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. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do". The learned, the doctors of the time had created a series of laws which they imposed upon the people in the name of God. They thought that God demanded this observance from the people. They themselves did not observe them (Mt 23, 4). The Law of Love, brought by Jesus, said the contrary. What is important is not what we do for God, but that which God, in his great love, does for us! They observe the law not to merit salvation, but to thank God for the love received. The people understood the way of speaking of Jesus and they rejoiced. The learned thought that Jesus was mistaken. They could not understand his teaching.
● Matthew 11, 27: the origin of the new Law: The Son knows the Father. Jesus, the Son, knows the Father. He knows what the Father wanted when, centuries ago he gave the Law to Moses. What the Father wants to tell us, he gave it to Jesus and Jesus reveals it to the little ones, in such a way that they may open themselves to his message. Today, Jesus also teaches many things to the poor and to the little ones. The learned and the intelligent would do well to become pupils of the little ones! It is not God who despises and excludes the learned, but they themselves close up before the message of Jesus.
● Matthew 11, 28-30: Jesus invites all who are tired to go to him and he promises rest. It is the people who are tired under the weight of the imposition and the observance which the laws of purity demand. And he says: Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart". Many times, this phrase has been manipulated in order to ask people for submission, meekness and passivity. What Jesus wants to say is the contrary. He asks people to 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 does not do like the Scribes who praise and exalt themselves because of their science, but he is like the people who live humiliated and exploited. Jesus, the new teacher, knows by experience what happens in the heart of the people and how much the people suffer.
The way in which Jesus puts into practice the Discourse on the Mission: In the way in which Jesus announces the Good News of the Kingdom a passion is revealed. There is Passion for the Father and for the abandoned people. Where he finds people who listen to him, Jesus transmits the Good News. He does it in any place; in the Synagogue during the celebration of the Word (Mt 4, 23); in the houses of his friends (Mt 13, 36); while walking with his disciples (Mt 12, 1-8); along the sea, on the shore of the beach, sitting in a boat (Mt 13, 1-3); on the mountain, from where he proclaims the Beatitudes (Mt 5, 1);in the squares of the villages and towns, where people bring the sick to him (Mt 14, 34-36); in the Temple of Jerusalem, during the pilgrimages (Mt 26, 55)! In Jesus, everything is revelation of what he bears within himself! He not only announces the Good News of the Kingdom, He himself is a living proof of the Kingdom. In him appears what happens when one allows God to reign and take hold of his life.
4) Personal questions
● For you, is the community a source of peace or of tension? What causes you peace and what causes tension? Which is the burden which gets people tired today and which is the burden or weight of which people feel relieved today?
● In the first part (vv. 25-27), Jesus speaks to the Father. Which are the reasons which move Jesus to praise the Father? How and when do I praise the Father?
5) Concluding prayer
I bless Yahweh who is my counsellor,
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep Yahweh before me always,
for with him at my right hand, nothing can shake me.