“Do you have any idea who I am?"
My Mother taught me Humility and Real Responsibility:
Indra Nooyi from Chennai, India is the fifth CEO in PepsiCo's 44-year history. She recounted the day 14 years ago when she was told that she would be made president of PepsiCo and be named to the board of directors.
She said she was "overwhelmed" but her mother's reaction was, she said, "let the news wait. Can you go out and get some milk."
Ms Nooyi recalled her mother telling her when she reacted to , "let me explain something to you. You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you're the wife, you're the daughter, you're the daughter-in-law, you're the mother. You're all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don't bring it into the house."
"You know I've never seen that crown," the corporate honcho said.
Introduction to the Celebration
Jesus reflects on three aspects of his life:
b) verse 27: his relationship with his heavenly father;
c) verses 28 to 30: his ministry to those who are overburdened by the religion of his time.
- those with little formal education shared insights which we had never thought of;
- the children of dysfunctional families became wonderful parents.
- the greatness of others
- the potential in a community.
- “knowing” in verse 27b.
- he “chooses”, in the sense that he puts the stamp of his freedom on the relationship he establishes: “life (the Lord) sent you on my path, and I have turned what was a chance meeting into a personal choice.”
- for true teachers knowledge is a sacred trust they grow into, side by side with their students;
- the sign of a good teaching method is that the lowly understand things hidden from the learned and the clever (including the teacher).
and revealed them to mere children;
yes, Father, that is what it has pleased you to do.
- within ethnic groups and social classes;
- within our families and communities.
We thank you for those precious moments when you break down the barriers we have set up,
surprising us by hiding things from us and revealing them to those we considered mere children:
washing_feet1 – someone we thought a sinner taught us true loyalty or love;
- a child we looked on as inferior said a word that brought peace to our family;
- young people accomplished something we adults had not been able to do;
- a group we had written off as unemployable organized themselves into a co-op.
At that moment you were calling us to poverty of spirit
whereby we recognize you as Lord of heaven and earth.
- grateful when you reveal things to them that have been hidden from the learned and the clever;
- and proclaiming your love to the world.
letting us know them as no one knew them,
and we felt known as we had never been known,
and there was no worry about our trust being betrayed.
These were truly sacred moments when we experienced your love and your trust.
We pray today for families,
that they may be living experiences of your Holy Trinity,
with trust between parents and children,
parents letting themselves be known by their children
and children letting themselves be known by their parents,
and children free to invite whoever they like into that place of trust.
- their sins appear more shameful than the sins of more respectable people;
- they are caught in a trap of poverty and lack the energy to get out.
We pray that as a Church we may not add to their burdens.
- with humility and gentleness of heart,
so that they may feel themselves understood and so find rest for their souls.
- to forgive an enemy;
- to let a loved one go;
- to involve themselves in a struggle for justice.
that you are gentle and humble of heart,
and they will find the yoke easy and the burden light.
Others misunderstand us, but we feel you understand,
and we say no one knows us except you;
we feel so close to you, we can say no one knows you except us;
so close to those we minister to,
we can say those whom we have chosen to reveal you to also know you.
so gentle and humble in heart that we find rest for our souls;
they lay a yoke on us but it is easy,
they ask us to bear a burden but it is light.
which you hid from the learned and the clever among her contemporaries,
yes Father that is what it pleased you to do;
- she knew that whatever she had was entrusted to her by you,
- she felt herself known by you in a way that no one else knew her,
- she knew you as no one else knew you, and those to whom she taught her Little Way,
- she called to her all who felt religion as a labour and a burden and she gave them rest;
- we have learnt humility and gentleness of heart from her and we found rest for our souls;
- we found her yoke easy and her burden light.
“Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart . . . ”
Matthew 11: 25-30
Jesus, meek and humble of heart
Purpose: Today’s readings provide one of the most wonderful opportunities, in the three-year Sunday cycle, for preachers to awaken, foment, and nourish, among their listeners, that personal love of our Savior which, as recent popes have consistently emphasized, is central to “the Joy of the Gospel,” and thus for the “new evangelization” of our traditionally Christian, but now radically secularized, culture. Today’s Gospel (Mt. 11: 25-30) is a key biblical text underlying devotion to, and worship of, Jesus’ Most Sacred Heart; indeed, it was also the Gospel reading for that Solemnity just nine days ago. Since the great majority of worshipers this weekend will not have attended that Friday Mass, we recommend homilies that strongly promote this devotion: Make today an unofficial “Sacred Heart Sunday”!
Today’s Scripture readings bring to light one of the sublime paradoxes of the Gospel: the surpassing greatness of the true God, as he is revealed to us in Christ, is shown precisely in his littleness, his gentleness, his humility. Clearly, these are qualities made possible for an eternal and almighty Creator only through the mystery of the Incarnation.
Thus, in the first reading from Zechariah’s prophecy, Israel, personified as the “daughter of Zion,” is given a vision that is to be fulfilled centuries later on Palm Sunday: the Savior king comes to his people as one who is “meek, and riding on an ass.” It is a vision in which Israel “rejoices heartily”—a rejoicing that has now cascaded its way to a permanent place in Christian culture ever since G.F. Handel immortalized Zechariah’s words in a radiant, soaring soprano aria of his great oratorio, “Messiah.” That same cultural heritage led to another moment of dramatic symbolism when, in 1917, the Holy City was captured from the Turks and came under the control of a Christian power for the first time since the crusading era. The British commander, General Edmund Allenby, had a deep respect for Jerusalem’s sacred heritage, and was unwilling to make his own entry in a manner similar to that of the “King of Kings.” Thus, on December 11, 1917, eschewing all elevation upon the backs of horses, or even donkeys, Allenby and his men made their formal entry into the conquered city on foot and in silence. Exactly eight years later, Pope Pius XI promulgated his great encyclical, Quas Primas, on the rightful sovereignty of Christ over every human society.
Christianized societies, too, have often fallen very short of Gospel teachings in their communal behavior. Nevertheless, what a contrast there is between this holy joy elicited by the Messianic King’s example of simplicity and modesty compared to the fierce, undisguised accolades to power, pride, and violence that, in every age, greet boastful displays of worldly pagan might! The spirit of a typical Roman conqueror’s processional triumph through the streets of the capital in early Christian times, dragging slaves and doomed captives behind his chariot in degraded humiliation, seems very little different from the spirit which, two millennia later, animated Hitler’s gargantuan Nazi rallies at Nuremberg, or Stalin’s parades through Red Square, that showcased endless rows of a Soviet arsenal portending massive death and destruction.
Today’s Gospel builds on Zechariah’s exhortation to rejoice in the quiet meekness of Israel’s King. For here we find our Lord praising the Father, precisely for having revealed the secrets of the Kingdom to “little ones”—the lowly and unlettered—rather than to the wise and learned. In fact, we learn from Luke’s account of this same incident (10: 21) that Jesus “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” as he lifted up this praise to God the Father. It seems significant that this is the only moment recorded in any of the Gospels in which we are explicitly told that our Lord rejoiced. This passage thus reveals to us something that lies deep within the Sacred Heart of Jesus: his profound longing to identify in a special way with the least of those brethren whose human nature he has come to share: humble working men and women, including sinners (“strayed sheep”), children, and those who are poor, sick, suffering, outcast—in short, all those who are not great and important in the eyes of the world.
This meekness of the Messiah King leads to a deeper appreciation of the central paradox of Christ’s Gospel —the Incarnation. The one whose human heart is filled with joy as he shares the lot of these “little ones” is, at the same time, the One whose eternal nature is infinitely higher than theirs! In this one short, but sublime, Gospel text we see both the “heights” and the “depths” of Jesus’ unique identity. In language that is rare in the Synoptics, but very similar to that of St. John’s Gospel, our Lord implicitly affirms his own divinity. He claims a unique reciprocal relationship with the Father, who has handed over to him “all things”: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son.” Only God can intuitively know the depths of God.
And yet, this Son of God—so far above us in his divine nature—shows us the full extent of what divine love is really like by coming down to our level. Precisely because he has shared our own burdens—even death on a Cross!—in the weakness of human flesh, the one who is “meek and humble of heart” is able to give us real, and not merely, verbal, comfort and “rest” in our sufferings, thus lightening that “burden” and “yoke” which he himself asks of us as a condition of discipleship.
"No," her mother replied, "You can't have chocolate for breakfast. Do you want a bagel or cereal?"
Again the little girl said, "Chocolate."
Slightly exasperated, the mother said, "No, honey. You can't have my chocolate until after lunch. Now what do you want . . .a bagel or cereal?"
The little girl said with a grin, "Lunch!" (as told by Don Colbert, What Would Jesus Eat? , 145).
And then it happened... Robert Raines saw one of the most beautiful things he had ever witnessed in his life.
Right there at the very edge of that great mountain peak and facing the gorgeous valley below... was a young man in his early twenties with a trumpet pressed to his lips. And, do you know what he was playing? With his lungs expanded fully and releasing all of the energy in his soul, he was playing the Doxology on his trumpet!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise, Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
The point is clear: With all the stresses and problems in this life, still the truth is:
- We have so many doxologies to sing,
- So much to be grateful for,
- So many blessings to count.
The point is: Life is more than a grueling endurance test. Life is more than a survival game. Life is more than a coping competition.
So, you see... it's not enough to just escape the stress. It's not enough to just endure the stress. Thank God... there is another option...
James W. Moore, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com
Now Jesus comes along to say that wisdom and intelligence did not cut the mustard when it comes to knowing God. Not only is the yoke not to be resisted, we are to voluntarily take this yoke upon ourselves and surrender to one who is greater than us!
Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
Third, develop a habit of giving things away.
Fourth, refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
Fifth, learn to enjoy things without owning them.
Sixth, develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
Seventh, look at a healthy skepticism at all "buy now, pay later" schemes.
Eighth, obey Jesus' instructions about plain, honest speech.
Ninth, reject anything that will breed the oppression of others.
Tenth, shun whatever would distract you from you main goal: "Seek first the kingdom of God."
The king asked his royal subjects, "What is the sweetest melody of all?" Early the next morning they gathered all sorts of musicians. The sound awoke the king and all morning he listened to their tunes. But, after listening to all of them he could not tell which was the sweetest sound. Finally, one subject suggested they all play together. It was so noisy the king couldn't think.
About that moment a woman, dressed in her Sunday best, pushed to the front of the crowd and stepped forward. "O, king," she said, "I have the answer to your question." The king was surprised since she had no instrument. "Why didn't you come earlier?" he asked. She replied, "I had to wait until the setting of the sun." The musicians were still playing and the king told them all to stop.
The woman then took two candles and placed them on the king's balcony rail. She lit them just as the sun continued to set. The flames glowed in the evening darkness. She then lifted her voice and said, "Blessed art thou, O Lord, Our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us with the commandments and commanded us to kindle the Sabbath lights." She then said, "He who has an ear, let him hear."
Everyone was completely still. "What is that?" asked the king." He could not hear a sound. The woman then replied, "What you hear is the sound of rest, the sweetest melody of all."
Jesus said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." This is also the sweetest sound any of us can hear.
Pope St. John XXIII during the Second Vatican Council days used to submit all his anxieties to God by this prayer every night: “Lord, Jesus, I’m going to bed. It's your Church. Take care of it!” The President Dwight David Eisenhower knew about that inner rest derived from submitting daily lives to God. He had it even while he was the leader of armed forces in World War II. His every decision during that awful conflict had monumental consequences. How did he deal with the pressure? Ike shared with his former pastor, Dean Miller that he didn't try to carry his burden alone. Some nights when the strain became too great, Eisenhower would simply pray, "Lord, with your grace I've done the best I can. You take over until morning." And he understood very well Jesus’ advice in today’s Gospel: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28).