Homily for Thursday of the 15th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: COME TO ME … AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Thursday July 16 2020
*Is 26 :7 – 19, Matt 11 :28 – 30. Restlessness is the bane of godlessness. Since the time of Cain (who killed his brother due to envy) ; since the time of Esau (who sold his spiritual birthright for a mesh of pottage) to the time of Jean Paul Sartre (who denied the existence of God and went into a spate of nausea), restlessness has always been the portion of the ungodly.
Jesus says in today’s gospel ‘Come to me all who labour and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest’. What a blessed assurance! Think of a tranquilizer or pain relieving tablet. It eases the whole pain of a surgical operation, for instance, only to leave you back to it when the power of the drug expires in your system. But Jesus’ own power of tranquility never expires. Jesus bids us in the gospel to come to him in great moments of physical, psychological and spiritual needs. Only him can give us rest if we decide to shoulder his yoke. The yoke is a support mechanism for bearing burdens for animals like donkeys and jackals. Our weighty burdens could be academic, provocation, emotional heartbreaks, financial direstraights, psychological insecurity, etc.
The 2nd step is to come and learn. He says ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’, Jn 14: 1. He is the fountain of wisdom. In him all the fullness of divinity’s wisdom was made manifest. Many will neither come to rest nor come to learn from him. That’s why we have so many psychotic patients and megalomaniacs who think they know what they are doing but they don’t know what is “doing them”. The greatest thing Jesus teaches a soul is humility; he makes us discover that we are nothing before him.
He says : ‘Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart’ ; I do not fight for anything. I do not struggle for lofty heights. Too much ambitions only produce restlessness and makes you want to break rules in order to meet up. Just imagine the traveller that is impatient with the traffic. He keeps breaking the rules until, perhaps, he jams somebody and tarries the whole day at a panel beater’s shade. An elderly man once warned his over speeding son who was driving him : ‘Nna a, jirikene nwayoo k’ anyi wee ruo n’oge’- Please take it easy so that we can arrive early’. The youngman only realized the sagacity of his father’s warning when they ended the journey at the hospital after knocking down an okada man.
He also says : ‘My yoke is easy ; my burden is light’. A yoke is not a contrivance to make work hard. It is a gentle device to make hard work light. A yoke is mearnt not to give pain but to save pain. Burdens are inevitable in our lives. But we have a choice either to drag our work load under our own strength or put on the yoke of Christ. His yoke is easy. Today’s 1st reading says that the way of the righteous is level and smooth because it is the way designed by God. In God’s will is our peace. Even death is no disaster because that too is part of God’s design. His Word says : ‘Your dead ones shall live, their bodies shall rise’. And they will have eternal rest. Lord, teach us to begin to learn how to rest in thee! May God bless you today!
-Fr. Benedict Agbo