During my imposed weeks of inactivity I had a chance to read a few novels. One character in one of the novels titled “The Shack” described God as cold, distant and disinterested. This is a far cry for the wonderful invitation we heard in the gospel. The welcoming Christ invites us, “come to me all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” How many of us here at this Mass are weary, drained of energy and vision, how many of us at this Mass find our lives burdensome and oppressive? Maybe right now things are ok, we are coping, doing all right, but there have been times when we’ve been hit by illness in the family, by the loss of a job, we faced the death of one we loved, or there have been times when what we thought were close relationships have been weakened by misunderstanding and imagined hurts. And maybe at such times we’ve found ourselves bent low under such burdensome circumstances, and we too felt God was cold, distant and disinterested.
There can be times when we are more convinced of the distance rather than the presence of God in our lives. The saintly Mother Teresa tells us she was more aware of the distance than of the presence of God in her life – but her faith in God’s love for her kept her trusting in God’s presence and care for her and she took Christ’s words in today’s gospel seriously – she accepted His invitation, “come to me” and she yoked herself to Christ’s love and His transforming power. Christ’s yoke is so far removed from the crushing yoke of ritual perfection and outward observance imposed by religious fanatics of that time and ours.
We’ve been told time and again how Christ entered fully in to our human condition, He was like us in all things, He knew joys and happiness, He knew the sustaining gift of close friends, He knew family life and love and He knew great sorrow and suffering. He knew the closeness of God – “the Father and I are one” and He knew the distance of God, “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?”
As we continue to celebrate this Mass today we pray for ourselves and for each other that every day of life, whether that day be a good day or a day of burden, we will be blessed to hear and accept the great invitation – come to me, bring me your joys, your happiness, you accomplishments, your sense of well being – come to me, yoke yourself to me, let yourself be supported, buoyed up, carried by My love for you and we will bear those burdens, those hurts, those pains together.