Where do you find rest?
From the beginning of human existence, God has sought to express God’s love for humankind through relationship, creating a space of intimacy in which man could rest from the trials of daily life. In this Sunday’s readings, the war-weary Hebrew people in the Book of Zechariah seek a messiah; God tells them he will send a just savior who will banish violent conflict by eradicating the tools of war (chariot, horse, warrior’s bow); he promises a king who will proclaim peace. Moreover, this kingdom will, by its very nature, be a place where love is the moral imperative, the gift of a God who is gracious and merciful, compassionate and faithful, eliciting the praise of all who are witness to that love: I will extol you, O my God and King (Psalm 145)…
Yet for all that God wished to establish a kingdom of love in ancient times, the Hebrew understanding of the coming kingdom remained based in the Torah, or law. So God expressed his loving kindness yet again, this time by sending his Son, Jesus, the living embodiment of God’s law of Love. In this week reading from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus notes that while the wise and the learned (that is, the Pharisees and Jewish leaders) have not understood this revelation, children (or the childlike) have – the childlike being those who have no internal impediment to God’s love, who have nothing to lose and everything to gain by embracing Jesus. To them, Jesus offers a respite from the myriad laws created by the Jewish leaders; he offers, yet again, a love relationship with God. I will give you rest, Jesus says, if you but take my yoke upon your shoulders, a yoke of obedience and discipleship, a yoke, simply put, that asks us to love, and to be led by love. It is thus our call, too, to follow Jesus, allowing him to lead us to the Father, for no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
Post-Pentecost, this relationship of love is extended by the presence of the Spirit of God who dwells in us, as Paul tells the Romans, giving us life, offering us yet another occasion to shout for joy, to bless and praise God’s name forever and ever. We have but to open ourselves to relationship – with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – with the openness of a child, trusting that now, as always, God will send us love and peace, giving us the rest that only a relationship of love with God can bring.
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.