Today’s Gospel reading is from the Book of Matthew. It’s a lovely quote from Jesus to His disciples. He is inviting all of His followers (that means Christian believers through the ages even until today) to come to Him. And when we are “yoked” to Him, walking beside Jesus, tethered to Him and He to us, we will find rest. Ah, rest. Not the, ‘take a knee’ because you’re tired rest, but the resting in the love of God kind of rest that is truly refreshing and healing for your soul. True rest means time to worship the Lord of Life, time to thank the Lord of All Creation for being here, and for your blessings. True rest is time to breathe, to think, to talk to our Brother, our Friend, Jesus.
And He goes on in His magnanimous invitation to say that we can learn from Him. He is “gentle and humble in heart.” So what do we learn from a God who is humble and gentle? That perhaps we should strive to be like that. If in the Incarnation, God becomes man, that is the quintessential model of humility. We should learn that type of humility. And Jesus is gentle. God the Almighty, the King of the Universe is gentle. He could completely dominate us with all of His power, but God doesn’t do that. He gives us the honor of free will to decide for ourselves to seek the good. Or not. But that love and respect for us as individuals with minds/intellect and wills of our own should lead us to gentleness if we are learning anything from our omnipotent Divine Lord.
I think that one of the most beautiful things I’ve read lately about the idea of finding rest in Jesus comes from a homily by St. John Chrysostom. He lived in the mid fourth century and he says this:
“Not this or that person, but ALL that are in anxiety, in sorrows, in sins. Come, NOT that I may call you to account, but that I may DO AWAY WITH YOUR SINS; come, NOT because I want your honor, but because I want YOUR SALVATION. ‘And I,’ says he, ‘will give you rest.’ ” (Emphasis mine.)
I find that so reassuring, a deep relief! Thank You, Holy Spirit, for guiding me to this particular excerpt from St. John C’s homily today. I have decided to read a Scripture passage to meditate on and pray about on a regular basis and today I picked up my copy of the Word on Fire Bible: The Gospels, to read the Gospel passage for this day in our liturgical year.
You should begin your meditation time with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to guide you, enlighten you, fill your heart with God’s grace. I was prompted to pick up this Bible today by the Holy Spirit, I believe. I had been praying to Him this morning, asking for wisdom and grace as I did some morning exercises. And then, all that happened and was given to me this very afternoon was my answer! All I can do is say Thank You, Lord, for your Goodness and Your generosity. And may the example of Your generous Spirit inspire me to have a more generous spirit in dealing with others. Amen.