July 3, 2011
Readings for The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Zec 9:9-10: Rom 8:9,
11-13; Mt 11:25-30
After the reign of King Solomon in 597 B.C. the kingdom of Israel fell into civil war and broke into two different countries. The Northern wealthier territory retained the name Israel while the Southern poorer area where Jerusalem was located was named Judah after its most predominate tribe. In 721 B.C. the Northern Kingdom was invaded by the Assyrians. They deported the population of the North throughout their kingdom, forever destroying the identity of ten of the Twelve tribes of Israel. Many of the refugees from this terrible conflict fled to the city of Jerusalem where they settled in an area outside the wall of the city. The area came to be known as the "Daughter of Zion" or "Daughter of Jerusalem" and its inhabitants were poor but sincere in their faith and dedication to their relationship with God. It was to them that the prophet Zechariah in the first reading announces the future Messiah with the words," Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!" This will be the same greeting that the Angel Gabriel will use when he announces to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she is to be the Mother of our Lord. In our present history it is often the people most repressed that are the most dedicated and sincere in their faith. They learn to appreciate their relationship with God when all else has been taken away from them and they realize their true dependence on Him.
Similarly, today's Gospel is often used when a priest administers the Sacrament of the Sick. Jesus says, " I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones" (Matthew 11:25). It is often only when we are weak, confined to our bed and faced with our own mortality that we realize our dependence on God. We ourselves become like the "little ones" the "Anawim", the poor in spirit seeking the consolation of our Loving God. We become like little children again, dependant on others and more sincere in our faith.
The problem is that we get old and complicated so quickly, especially in our world where there is such relative comfort and wealth. Our children lose their sincerity and innocence way too early and we as adults become occupied by the cares of the world around us and we have very little time for our relationship with God. We can see that very clearly in our own community here in San Pedro. Those still connected with their roots in the country of origin and those who fled persecution are often more dedicated and sincere in the practice of their faith. As we celebrate our Nation's Independence we can use this as an opportunity to remember those values that made the United States such a great country and seek to restore them in our current time.
It is no easy task for us to shed the allurements, the "wisdom" of this world and open ourselves to see and experience the fullness of God's love. That is why throughout our Christian history many have fled the "world" to become monks or nuns or have entered the religious life. It is very difficult to be a part of this world and to be humble and simple enough to realize our complete dependence on the Love of God. We probably all desire to be able to experience this relationship with God without experiencing illness or great tragedy in our lives. It would be a greater gift that in our current states we were able to let go of some of the allurements of this world and become more open to experience the joy of being in a relationship with our Lord.
The Promise of Jesus is that as we become dependent on Him we will not be left alone. He says to us, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light" (Matthew 11: 29,30). The desire of our Lord is that He will be bound to us on this journey of life like two beasts of burden are bound to each other by a yoke, and that together we will be able to bear the burdens of this life. This can only happen if we put aside those things that we are bound to in this life and allow the Love of God to be our strength. It will only be when we become like our Lord, meek and humble of heart, that we will have the ability to fully appreciate our need for God in our lives.
Our Parish Fiesta is approaching. If you have not turned in your yellow raffle books please turn them in to receive two free green books. If you have not received any raffle tickets they are available after Masses or in the parish office. We are very much in need of your support this year in order to make this a successful fiesta. We are depending on these funds to finance the many essential maintenance projects we have for the summer. Today Cristina Garibay will be selling bake goods outside of our Church. Please support her as she is working hard to raise money for our parish.
Have you had an opportunity recently to look at our parish website? www.marystar.org We have worked very hard to improve this site so our parishioners can access information more easily. Please check it out!
Rev. John F. Provenza