15th Week, Thursday, Jul 16

Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19 / Matthew 11:28-30 
Isaiah holds out hope: Those sleeping in their graves will wake up.

After the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, a newspaper carried two pictures side by side. The first picture showed the ship’s side ripped open by the huge iceberg. Under it was printed: “The weakness of man, the supremacy of nature.” The second picture showed a passenger giving his place in a lifeboat to a woman with a child in her arms. Under it was printed: “The weakness of nature, the supremacy of man.” Isaiah sees the southern kingdom in similar terms. By itself, it appears doomed and without hope. With God’s help, however, it can rise from the grave and live again.
When we fall or lose hope, do we focus on ourselves and on our own inadequacies? Or do we focus on God and his love and power? “Jesus said, ‘Young man! Get up. . . .’ The dead man sat up.” Luke 7:14-15
In the prayers for the deceased, we often hear these phrases "eternal rest" and "rest in peace".

When understood literally, it means that the departed have finally come to rest from their journey in this world, and they are freed from the anxieties and worries of this life. That is one way of understanding the word "rest".

When Jesus said in the gospel, "Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest." we may immediately think of physical rest.

Indeed, the anxieties and worries of life have taken their toil on us physically and we yearn for a good night's rest in the comfort of our beds.

But spiritually, we also yearn for a rest for our hearts more than we yearn for physical rest. Our hearts need to rest in peace.

And Jesus wants to give us that peace because the meaning of rest is to go to Jesus and have our hearts re-created into His image and likeness so that our hearts can be like His.

As the 1st reading puts it: Lord, you are giving us peace. With peace in our hearts, then we will understand what the 1st readings means when it says: The path of the upright man is straight, you smooth the way of the upright. Following the path of your judgements, we hoped in you, Lord, your name and your memory are all my soul desires.

So even though our bodies may be resting, the 1st reading says: At night my soul longs for you and my spirit in me seeks for you.

Yes, our hearts will not be at rest until they find their rest in the heart of Jesus. Then like Jesus we will be humble and gentle of heart. Then we find that the yoke and the burdens of life will be light.
Thursday July 16

Thursday of 15th Week in Ordinary Time


Isaiah voices a prayer of longing for God, asks for peace and hopes for a rebirth for his people. It represents the prayer of the just among his people. Our selection skips the parts referring to the fate of the unjust.
The weak and the poor are open to the love of Jesus, for they are aware that they are fragile and vulnerable. He will give them rest and make them aware that what Jesus asks of them is a light burden, for it is carried in love. They will find rest in him.

Opening Prayer
God with a heart,
you have made your love visible
in your Son Jesus, human like us,
and through him you have bound yourself to us
with a bond of faithful love.
Accept our thanks
and help us to reflect a bit of your own love,
that, like you and Jesus,
we may not be afraid
of showing affection and concern to people
and of rendering them generous service,
even when it is inconvenient to do so.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Isaiah recalls vividly that the country’s pain has ended in joy. But the crushing hand of God’s anger had been felt in punishment. As pain precedes childbirth only to break forth in joy, such is the similar lot of God’s people. While final salvation still remains on the horizon, his glory is already being enkindled. At some point even the dead will rise.
We all suffer pain in one way or another—war, unemployment, illness. But the Christian life is never overwhelmed. Jesus reminds us today to bring our sorrows to him. He is not an overbearing dictator but a servant-prince who is meek and humble of heart. If we stand firm, we will be refreshed. That is the assurance of today’s Gospel.
Some people are forever downcast. A professor I had years ago never smiled. He carried the weight of the world and his students got the brunt of it. One student remarked, “Well, he’s strict, but he’s fair.” Another responded, “I don’t know about his fairness, but I’ve never had any trouble finding his strictness.”
Rejoice in the Lord, for the world is his.

Points to Ponder
Christian hope
Confiding in the Lord
Jesus, the meek and humble Master

– Lord Jesus, make us aware how brittle and vulnerable we are, that we may simply ask for your help when we are in distress, we pray:
– Lord Jesus, may those who are tired in life and see no solution to their problems, turn trustingly to you, we pray:
– Lord Jesus, help us carry the burdens of others, for these are light as they are our brothers and sisters, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God, source of all love,
your Son Jesus gave himself totally for you
as he gives himself now to us
in this Eucharistic celebration.
May we learn from him
to help others carry their burdens
and to bring out the best in them.
Make our love as faithful and generous as his,
that he may live among us
now and for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
your love beat in a human heart
when your Son lived among people
as one of us.
Help us to become one with him
and give us hearts as wide as his.
May we prefer, as he did,
those who are loved least
and therefore need affection most,
that we may bring them a bit of your warmth
and love in them him who is our Lord
now and for ever.

Let our Christian living be a hymn of gratitude to God’s initiative of love and to Jesus’ continual care. May the God of love bless you all, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.