Above photograph: thanks to Matt Botsford
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reflection on the Gospel-14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A (Matthew 11:25-30)
Today’s gospel begins with Jesus’ prayer of thanksgiving to God. The verb “to thank” in this instance has connotations of blessing. In this prayer of blessing or thanksgiving, Jesus contrasts those who consider themselves wise and intelligent with the truly wise ones, the “little ones” who know the daily struggle to survive, those to whom the secrets of God’s empire have been revealed.
The prosperity gospel that affirms the acquisition of wealth is far removed from the gospel preached by Jesus of Nazareth and proclaimed in Matthew’s gospel. God’s ways turn human expectations upside down. The final verses of today’s gospel are among the best known and best loved in all of the gospel tradition. “Come to me…and I will give you rest” is a lovely invitation. It is issued to those who are weary and burdened, and that includes most of us at some time or another.
We might hear it spoken to all who are working tirelessly to address the effects of Covid-19. We might equally hear it as addressed to African Americans and other disadvantaged minorities who are weary and burdened by waiting for justice.
The “rest” that Jesus offers is God’s rest. It is not just relief from drudgery and hard work. In the biblical tradition, rest is shabbat. It is freedom from any sort of enslavement. It is freedom to remember God’s goodness in creation. Rest time or shabbat is about making a space to contemplate the wonder of the galaxies, the wonder of life in all its forms and all its potentialities. God’s rest restores life to our wearied spirits. It frees us to open ourselves to ever new possibilities and to be there for others.
Spending a little time each day with a poem or a beautiful painting can be an experience of entering into God’s rest. “Take my yoke upon you…” is Jesus’ further invitation. Later in this gospel, the same verb will be used when Jesus tells his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them … take up their cross and follow me.” The “yoke” of Jesus, the cross that he will take up, and the cross that his disciples are invited to bear are all of a piece. A yoke is a cross-beam or cross-bar. Jesus will carry his cross-beam to execution. Disciples, in their turn, will carry their cross-beams, figuratively if not literally. They will not be weighed down or burdened by this prospect for the “yoke” of which Jesus speaks is easy and the burden is light.
How can this be? The answer lies in the final invitation: “Learn of me, for I am gentle and humble of heart….” In Matthew, the gentle are said to be blessed. There is nothing weak about the gentle (“meek” is not a helpful translation). The non-violent methods of the gentle are infinitely more effective in restoring creation than the violence of so many who present themselves as “wise and intelligent”. God’s “rest” is the source of their power-and of ours.
-Veronica Lawson RSM
Supporting our parish
As Fr John points out in his recent email, the parish needs your ongoing help financially to sustain its operations. For those of you who support the parish with your Planned Giving Envelopes, and those of you who are used to contributing in the Sunday Collection at Mass, if you are able to assist via online banking, our Parish Bank Account details are as follows:-
Bank of New Zealand
R C Bishop of Auckland, Howick Branch
Planned Giving Account
Account No: 02-0100-0120966-24
For parishioners who use the Planned Giving Envelopes and want to now give through online banking please ensure that your Surname is under the Particulars section and your Planned Giving number (if you give by this means and have a number) is under the Reference section on our bank statements. This will help us to keep track of your donations and enable us to make sure that your donation is recorded against your Planned Giving Number.
Caring Group to help our community
They'll know we are Christians by our love. And one way we can show our Christian love is to care for one another, especially in times of need or distress.
Several people have already volunteered their services to start the Group but we need more. We also need to know if there is anyone who needs help from the Caring Group. So, if you would like to be a volunteer who may be called upon from time to time please contact Glenis Clapham (ph: 09 536 6305) or Kathie McNabney (ph: 09 530 8130). If you need some help or know of someone from our community who needs help please let Glenis or Kathie know.
Have you considered joining the parish planned giving programme? No more searching through your purse or wallet at collection time. You will be provided with a set of envelopes which need only be placed in the basket with your donation inside. And best of all at the end of each tax year you will receive a statement of your contributions so you can make a claim on your tax return.
Why not join up now. Contact the parish office or follow the link below for further information. Ph 5348710
Download our free Android App here
Take us with you everywhere on your Android phone by clicking on the link and following instructions.
If you are an iPhone user I can show you how to create your own app for our website.
How giving a little can mean a lot
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
There are always people in need, sometimes long term, sometimes short term, sometimes in an emergency. The parish Food Bank, run by the Howick branch of the SVDP society, helps many families who find themselves in need of basic food items. Through supporting this we are putting into action the Church's principles of Social Justice: Human Dignity, Preferential Option for the Poor, the Common Good, Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Stewardship and Participation.
When you come to Mass at Beachlands try to bring one food item, a packet or can that can be added to the Food Bank, and place it in the basket on the table when you come in.
Giving a little can mean such a lot.
Please continue to keep Eileen Gallagher, John Clapham, Allan Saunders, Francis McNabney and other members of our community in your prayers.
John also asks us to pray for a breakthrough for treatment within New Zealand for neuroendocrine cancer.