14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Romans 8:9, 11-13
July 6, 2014
Why are you here?
This might seem like a simple question with an obvious answer but I think it is a question that we need to ask ourselves from time to time.
So, again, why are you here?
For some it might be because we came with someone else. It’s a starting point.
For some we come out of obligation. We are supposed to come on Sunday. God can work with this.
For some it has been a good week and we come to give thanks. Maybe there are even some that it wasn’t such a good week but they come thankful for God’s presence in the bad times.
Then there are those who come looking for something. How’s it going to help me?
We come to give God praise but ultimately we do get something out of it. First and foremost we get grace. We hear God’s Word to guide us and the Eucharist to strengthen us.
Maybe we come simply seeking some rest. It is in this context that we hear Jesus’ words “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The reality is that on any given Sunday, we can come to church for a few of the reasons I mentioned. Sometimes it just boils down to life isn’t easy and we need some help and rest.
This gospel passage is sometimes read at the funeral of people who have faced a lengthy illness. In faith, we understand that in death, our loved one is set free from all earthly burdens and goes to be with God to find eternal rest in Heaven.
For us who are living, we need “rest” even now and we don’t want to have to wait till we die to get it.
We each have our own burdens. It may be sickness, aging, job, financial, or family problems. Sometimes we go looking for the easy way out. In prayer we ask God to free us from our burdens but to do so remember Jesus’ words in the garden, Father, let this cup pass from me but not my will but yours be done.
We should ask begin by thinking about evaluating our burdens and seeing if there is an easy way out but sometimes the easy way out isn’t the best way out. Do you think the Crucifixion was the easy way out for Jesus? If it was, I hate to think what the hard way would have been like.
We know the reality is that God doesn’t keep us free from burdens. Jesus doesn’t say there are no burdens when we follow him. He does say his way is easy and light.
So we pray for Jesus to help us through our burdens that we might find rest. Coming here today should be part of the rest. Prayer in general should help us find rest.
Sometimes the best rest involves prayer but no words. When we pray, we should tell God all our problems. There is no need to hold back with God. He has big shoulders so God can take it.
This is an important part of finding rest as it helps us open up to God. However, I think there is an important part of our relationship with God that sometimes we forget or don’t know how to do.
Sometimes we arrive at church just as Mass begins and leave as quick as we can. So throughout our time here, something is always going on. If we do come early or hang around for a couple of minutes afterwards, we are talking to other people. Sometimes we are saying our own prayers. Do we ever just sit and be quiet? It can seem difficult but sometimes it is exactly the rest we need.