Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily
July 15, 2021
Homily for the 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 7-15-21, Year B
Readings: 1st Ex 3:13-20, Gospel Mt 11:28-15
Memorial – St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor; Born 1218 in Italy; Joined the Franciscan order; Became Bishop and Cardinal of Albano, Italy; He is considered the greatest exponent of mystical theology in the Middle Ages; he died in 1274 while attending the council of Lyons.
Theme: Steadfast Faith
How easily we can turn our thoughts and actions from one thing to another when life gets difficult. We cruise along in life when things are good, making time for God along with the rest of our activities. Then something happens. Things change and life becomes more difficult. Suddenly, that way of life, that superficial belief in God and what we were doing, isn’t so easy anymore.
We find reasons and excuses for why life is somehow more difficult now. We blame God for the changing times and old fashion values as the culprit. We decide to bend to the current thinking and beliefs of our culture, the center where everyone else appears to be but us. Soon we convince ourselves that what we were doing was never right to begin with. We look for new ideas and thinking that are more mainstream, pushing God and our faith aside.
But these changes really never change anything, and our expectations of a new life are not what we thought. Things are no better, and may even be worse, than they were before. God experienced this with the Hebrew people in their time and so He does with many of us today.
Moses was sent to save the Hebrew people from their bondage. Through Moses, God offered a lighter yoke and easier burden for them, if only they would believe and stay steadfast in their faith. All they had to do was trust and believe in the living God.
We know from later in Exodus that that was not to be the case. After all of the signs and wonders God worked through Moses, the unthinkable became thinkable. Pharoah let the Hebrews go in an amazing subjection to God’s will. But soon after they left Egypt, life appeared to become difficult for the Hebrews and their faith became weak. They grumbled against God and blamed him for their plight in the desert.
Instead of trusting in God, who would have brought them to the land promised to their fathers within a very short time, they gave up on Him and committed a great sin. They rejected the light yoke and easy burden offered to them and had to languish in the desert for 40 years, their yoke harder and their burden heavier than before.
Jesus offers us the same thing Moses did to the Hebrews, to be led out of our bondage to sin and worldly beliefs and to a promised land of lighter yokes and easier burdens. All we have to do is accept Jesus’ offer in complete, steadfast faith. We cannot waiver in believing that Jesus will lighten our load. If we are weak in our faith, our load will continue to be heavy and burdensome. We are the cause of our hard yoke and heavy burden, not God.
When things get tough and you want to give in, do not. Stick to your faith. Trust in Jesus and know that the promised land lies just around the corner, even though you cannot see it now. Do not be swayed by the grumblings of society or secular views. Hold fast to Christ’s teachings and draw strength in knowing His teachings are right and good. If you do, Jesus will give you his yoke and you will learn from him because he is meek and humble of heart. Through Jesus you will find rest because His yoke is easy and His burden light.