Fr. Ruben B. Orbeta, Jr., SJ
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 9, 2017
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
(Mt 11, 28-30)
These words of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading really bring consolation and meaning to our lives. We perfectly know how wounded our world is and how hurt and pained our beings have become. I remember vividly when I was doing undergraduate practicum as a student-counselor in one of the state colleges in Cebu, our Guidance Office never runs out of clients. And these students who go to the Guidance Office have a lot of painful stories to tell. One of these students shared with us her difficulty and struggle in continuing her studies in the college since her parents are really broke in the remote mountain barangay. Her parents can no longer sustain her studies and her stay in the City. She had to enroll herself as a non-academic (working) scholar rendering four hours of service everyday. Since that is not enough, she had to do the laundry and iron clothes for her landlord for additional income. But even that would not make ends meet. She not only fends for her needs and studies, she had to send money to support her broke family in the province. Her question to us startled me. She asked, “With these trying moments of my life when I feel so overstretched, where can I go? Whom can I turn to? Where will I get strength from?”
I am certain that at one point in our lives we are able to resonate with this lady student. When things in our life get rough and tough, where can we turn to? To whom shall we go? From whom shall we get strength and support? Matthew has enlightening words for us today. The Gospel of Matthew was written as a sort of a “guidebook” for the early Jewish Christian community. The early converts from Judaism and followers of Jesus are supposed to pattern their way of life from the Gospel message. And the Evangelist perfectly understood how trying and difficult it would be to follow Jesus seriously. And so the Evangelist reminds us that in our everyday struggle to practice our Christian faith and live our life in Christ, we have Christ to turn to. Christ is there ever ready to support and aid us. “Come to me, all you who labor and find file burdensome… I will give you rest.” We have Jesus to turn to. He will strengthen us. He will never abandon us. He will walk with us everyday as we struggle to become his faithful followers.
Yes, life from time to time really becomes so stressful and burdensome. We experience financial constraints, we undergo psycho-emotional turmoil, and we feel spiritual emptiness as we live our daily lives. But we should not lose heart since we have someone to turn to in these trying and difficult moments. We have Jesus. So let us draw closer to Jesus, our Lord, our Redeemer, our friend. In all our labors and burdens, he will refresh us.