14th Sunday OT/A/2008 at The Church of Christ The King, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8
Readings: Zec 9: 9-10-Rom 8:9. 11-13; Mt 11:25-30
· My sisters and brothers, three weeks ago, we heard Jesus talking about the harvest. And to help us appreciate what a harvest is, I related that there were farms here in Ang Mo Kio about thirty years ago.
1. Today in the Gospel, we hear Jesus talking about the yoke. What is a yoke? Again, it is an agricultural term. A yoke is a wooden frame that farmers put over their buffalo to allow it to pull the plough or a cart. The yoke is still being used today in parts of Thailand and Vietnam.
2. So as you can see, the yoke is indeed a burden to the buffalo. It means hard work. It means heavy load. It means suffering – and not joy.
3. When Jesus tells the people of his time that His yoke is easy and His burden light, they could appreciate the full meaning of that statement. It was very clear and powerful to them.
4. Today, the meaning can be described like this: Come to Me and leave on my feet, all your office politics… your work deadlines… your financial problems… the stress of bringing up children… your pain and sickness… and all your brokenness and disappointments in life. Come and leave them all with Me – and I will give you peace.
5. It sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? Well, yes, and no.
6. Yes, it is simplistic if you take it at face value – with no depth of reflection.
7. Here is where the second reading and the Gospel give us a clue as to how we can achieve what Jesus said. Both readings make references to two types of people.
8. St Paul, in his letter to the Romans, talks about spiritual people and unspiritual people. In the Gospel, Jesus talks about the learned and the little children.
9. In St Paul’s message, he explains that all of us have a natural life and a spiritual life. We are dominated by one or the other – depending on what is our motivation in life.
10. If we are attracted and driven by the things of the world, then our natural or unspiritual self will be dominant. If we allow ourselves to be touched and inspired by God’s love, then our spiritual life will be dominant.
11. Now imagine that our heart is a computer hard disk – with a limited capacity. Everything has a limit in this life. So imagine that our heart is a hard disk with 2 gigabytes.
12. If 80% of your heart is filled with things of the world, then you will only have 20% space for God. Listen carefully now, on the differences between natural and spiritual lives.
13. First, I shall talk about natural life. If 80% of your life is influenced by things of the world, then if something goes wrong, 80% of your life will be affected. In other words, if you are more concerned with money, investments, your achievements and what your own, then if something goes wrong, the impact will be very great.
14. But, if only 20% of your life is influenced by things of the world, then if something goes wrong, it will only affect you 20%. The other 80%, because it is filled with God, His love and peace will stabilise you.
15. Now I shall talk about spiritual life. If your heart has only 20% space for God, then whatever God wants to give you, like graces, empowerment, love, healing…it will only have a 20% effect. But if your heart has 80% space for God, then whatever He gives you, it will impact you 80%! Can you imagine what that can do for you?
16. In the Gospel, Jesus also refers to two types of attitudes. He talks about learned people and people who adopt an attitude of little children.
17. Sometimes, the more we acquire knowledge, the smarter we THINK we are. Jesus already knew of this danger before the first university was built and before the internet was invented.
18. What is the danger? It is the danger of trusting ourselves more than letting go and trusting God, like little children.
19. We were all children at one time. All we needed was our mommy or daddy. And we had total trust in them. There were no doubts…no what ifs… no buts… no suspicions. Just total trust – and no rationalising.
20. Precisely, Jesus is telling you and me to lead simple and uncomplicated lives – and trust Him.
21. Now, let us put together the key message from the two readings. If we have 80% of God in our lives, and if we trust God like little children, we will lead spiritual lives and not unspiritual lives.
22. And only then, my sisters and brothers, can we achieve what Jesus said to the people of His time.