Joy in a compassionate Lord


WE have been told not to be afraid however daunting our mission seems to be, and also to be totally committed to Jesus so that we love no one more than him. This is because as the little ones we have for our Lord one who is gentle and humble of heart (Matthew 11:25-30).

Thanking God for the little ones

Jesus was pained by the absence of understanding and faith among those who took offense at him, disregarding his call to repentance and rejecting his preaching (Matthew 11:20-24). But compensating for the rejection by “the wise and the learned” were the “childlike” ones who welcomed him. They occasioned his prayer of thanksgiving to God. To these merest children God has revealed his wisdom, hidden from the clever ones who prided themselves in their mastery of their law, which seemed to have closed their hearts to the words of Jesus.

In the absolute gratuity of the gift of faith, the little ones could divine in Jesus the one sent by the Father and entrusted with His words. These childlike ones accepted Jesus as the one who knows the Father and they were attracted to Him and listened to Him with wonder and fascination. Jesus intimately called God “Abba” (Father) in a unique relationship where “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son.” Jesus is echoing in His person the wisdom-image of God’s goodness and the reflection of eternal light (Wisdom 7:22-30). Since “all things have been handed over” to Him by his Father, Jesus is contradicting the traditional claim that God’s revelation is fully contained in the law and the prophets. Indeed this revelation of God in Jesus means release from the law on the part of all who believe in Him.

My burden is light

IT is a lighter load to follow Jesus, than to adhere to the law. Jesus’ warm and pressing invitation to all the little ones who labor and are burdened is because “His yoke is easy and His burden light”. In claiming to be the real and definitive wisdom, Jesus is the “source of joy”, satisfying the thirsty soul more than gold (Ecclesiastes 6:25; 51:27). Unlike the Pharisees, who “tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders” without lifting “a finger to move them” (Matthew 28:4), Jesus calls followers to himself and offers his own yoke and example of accepting and submitting totally to the Father’s will. His yoke is what his gospel comes down to: love of God and love of others in imitation of the Father who loves the little ones. Love is demanding but not burdensome; in fact, it lightens the load one must carry.

The compassion of Jesus makes being His disciple a relationship of joyful fellowship and privileged service. He is “gentle and humble of heart”. He is the mighty one who is most considerate of the weak ones; He is the Son of the Most High always in loving consciousness of His heavenly Father. That is why the evangelist saw in Jesus what was spoken of through Isaiah (42:1-4): “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight. I shall place my spirit upon him…. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench” (Matthew 12:17-20).     

Alálaong bagá, we are followers of a just and peaceful Lord, gentle and humble of heart. To all of suffering humanity, oppressed by violence, arrogance and selfishness, Jesus offers rest, the rest with God who on the seventh day sees the goodness of creation complete, the restful joy when our true nature is realized. As Saint Augustine pointed out, our hearts are restless until they rest in God. We have to yoke ourselves to Jesus, learning from Him through a process of discipleship how to live in harmony with ourselves, our neighbor, nature and God. In loving communion His burden is light, His yoke easy.

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