Finding rest in Christ – June 2017

“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 yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Matthew 11:28-30


My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Read carefully these words of Jesus as told in the Gospel of St. Matthew and pray about how they have meaning in your life.  When Jesus prayed these words to us, there was great dissidence against Him and John the Baptist.  The people were disillusioned about Jesus’ identity since He was not the ‘king’ they expected.  Helping people to live a life through, with, and in God was, in some ways, dependent upon the leader or rabbi’s interpretation of Jewish law.  Sound familiar?

Jesus shows us His gentle mastery.  He invites all to carry His Word, to follow Him and He offers us rest. In our world today, there does seem to be a lot of babble.  Perhaps it is because of the burgeoning technology in which we are bombarded with messages from tweets, Facebook, FaceTime, websites, emails, advertisements, etc.  We can become immersed in these varying messages which may not be a best focus on God.  If we don’t know our faith well enough, our belief system may corrode over time and these false prophets may overcome God’s Word.

“Come to me.”  What is a possible solution to our confusion?  Jesus says it, “Come to me.”  Take your focus off of all the extraneous noise.  Read Scripture, participate in the celebration of Mass, pick up the free app, Faith Fit, listen to Faith Fit Radio.  Offer each day to God as your daily prayer.  Pray with your family.  Recently I saw a commercial advocating for people to switch off their devices before joining others for a conversation or a meal.  This may be something you might consider as your family gathers or when meeting with friends.  Create conversations which bring the challenges of living through, with, and in God to the table and talk about how our faith guides you.  Can you devote some of the minutes normally relegated to a game or surfing the net or texting to a visit or offering time to serve those in need?

Some of our young people have noticed the extraneous noise and have chosen to participate in summer camp through San Pedro Spiritual Development Center so that they refocus on God.  At San Pedro, each day campers dive into different aspects of the heart of the gospel-the good news of Jesus Christ-this year’s camp theme. Over the course of seven weeks, more than 200 youth played games, shared faith and formed friendships while breaking bread over the topic. “My favorite part is the dinners,” said Ethan, a high schooler from Most Precious Blood Parish in Oviedo who attended the overnight camp. “Everyone is in the same room and can talk and hang out. They make being yourself feel really easy to do.”

Ethan reflected on his initial reservations about attending, acknowledging that he had drifted away from his faith for some time. “It didn’t feel that special anymore. It felt like something I did to just do,” he said. “I didn’t really have that strong of a connection with God. Plus, I went to high school and got more friends and just stopped. I had no motivation to go. This has made me reconsider going—that it really is important to go. This made me realize I need to reconnect with God.”  Young people like Ethan serve as an example to us.

Pope Francis also reflecting on this Scripture said that our greatest burden is a lack of love.  “The Lord knows our struggles: he knows them. He knows the burdens we have in our lives.  But the Lord also knows our great desire to find joy and rest!  Do you remember?  Jesus said, “… that your joy may be complete” (cf. Jn 15:11).  Jesus wants our joy to be complete! … Jesus says –  and I will give you rest, so that your joy may be complete. Take home this Word of Jesus, carry it in your hearts, share it with the family. It invites us to come to Jesus so that he may give this joy to us and to everyone.”

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  May we seek this refreshment in the Lord and carry His Word all the days of our life.

Bishop John Noonan
Diocese of Orlando