Homily for the fourteenth Sunday of the year
Year A - Mt. 11:25-30


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"At that time Jesus declared, 'I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.'


" 'Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' "





Homily:


"At that time Jesus declared, 'I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes.' "


In the Gospel passage we read today, Jesus will try to make us understand who his Father - and our Father - is. And he will begin with a prayer to his Father. A prayer that is not like other prayers, since it is a prayer of praise, a thanksgiving, a true eucharist: "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth..."


What greater and nobler thing can we do than to praise and thank the Father, our Father? For he is the Creator, the One upon whom all things depend, the One who is at the origin of all. The Father is the source of all, he is even his own source, he is the divine Person whose Life is from himself, and not from another divine Person. The Father is the divine Person who is at the origin of all the divine Trinitarian Life, that of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!


So one can have no relation with the Father if one does not acknowledge him to be such, above all else! To be in relation with the Father, we must thus humble ourselves before him, recognize our indigence, our poverty, our dependence upon him... We must thus be like little children, for little children are truly incapable of being like big people, for they are truly small...


But, in fact, children will grow, and, one day, they will become big people. So it is in a spiritual sense that Jesus speaks these words: "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes." So, to be pleasing to the Father, we must have the spirit of a child, it is spiritual childhood that must animate us!


" 'All things have been delivered to me by my Father.' "


If we have the spirit of a child with respect to our Father, then it is impossible that God, our Father, would not give us his grace, which is the spiritual power capable of making us adopted children in the Word of God: "The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world... To all who received him, he gave power to become children of God." (Jn. 1:9,12)


If we are children of God, then the Lord Jesus is our brother, our eldest brother, He with whom we are but one in the Holy Spirit. So we no longer belong to ourselves, but rather to Christ and to God. Then the following words of Jesus are truly realized: "All things have been delivered to me by my Father." And also the following: "All that the Father gives me will come to me." (Jn. 6:37) And also: "No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (Jn. 6:65)


" 'No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.' "


The Father leads us to the Son, and the Son leads us to the Father. When someone humbles himself before the Father, then He, in his immense Love and tender compassion, cannot allow that being to remain at his feet: immediately, he must lift him up to himself, making that being his son or daughter, his adopted child. With our Father, this saying of the Lord is always applicable: "Whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Mt. 23:12)


How does the Father, our Father, lift us up? What does he do with us if we humble ourselves before Him? He makes us adopted children, sons in the Son! But that is not all. In fact, the Son is the Image of the Father, he is the "image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15). Thus, in a certain sense, if we humble ourselves before the Father, He makes us into images of himself, into other Fathers!


Does not Saint Paul say to the Corinthians: "I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15)? Saint Paul is thus a Father, in the spiritual sense of the word, a Father who, in a certain sense, begets children to eternal Life, in the unique Son of the unique Father, eternal and omnipotent. Thus, we too can be other Fathers, in the unique Father who is in heaven. Besides, isn't the Head of the Roman Catholic Church, who humbles himself before God and before men by proclaiming himself "the Servant of the servants of God", called the "Holy Father"?


" 'Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' "


Is it not a heavy burden to "be a Father"? Is it not a difficult and tiring task to be the "Holy Father"? Do we not all have a certain spiritual paternity to exercise around us: parents toward their children; deacons, priests, and, above all, bishops, toward their respective flocks? So, if our work is heavy, if we become discouraged by the labor and by the ingratitude of our children, let us go to Jesus, the unique Image of the Father, He who renews our strength!


For fatigue, suffering, pain, and discouragement affect us only because we lack meekness and humility... "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth!" "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!" (Mt. 5:3,5) Let us ask Mary to lead us to Jesus in order that he might teach us to be true Fathers, like Him, He who is the unique Image of "the invisible God" (Col. 1:15)!




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