Daily Reflection
July 15th, 1999
M. Janet Barger-Lux
Osteoporosis Research Center
Exodus 3:11-20
Psalm 105:5, 8-9, 24-27
Matthew 11:28-30

Todayís readings are about burden-to-rescue-to-joy.  The reading from Exodus describes the call to Moses, his appointment as Godís instrument in the rescue of His people from oppression by the Egyptians.  God rescued them, not just from a place, but from their state-in-life as a burdened, enslaved people.  God saw their distress, heard their cries, and answered their prayers.  He rescued them and set them free, and (in time) brought them to a land we call Holy to this day.

And the response to freedom is joy.  In the poetry (it should be singing) of Psalm 105, we hear that He led forth His people with joy, with shouts of joy, His chosen ones.  In words we do sing at Vespers during Easter time, He brought out His people with joy!  Alleluia, Alleluia!

Todayís Gospel is actually about rescue, too, rescue from burden.  Jesus offers respite to all who are weary and find life burdensome.  Scripture scholars tell us that this message was mainly part of Jesusí ongoing critique of powerful religious leaders who had lost the spirit of their own religious tradition.  They claimed to be holy, and Jesusí teachings and his prophetic actions threatened that holiness to its very core.  Jesusí invitation to holiness was an invitation to all, rather than to an elite who might earn it through exacting observance.

How might an ongoing Yes to Jesusí invitation to holiness affect our burdens?  The smaller and larger circles in which we live?  If we were truly to accept that invitation, what would be important to us (and what not)?  If we were to become thoroughly converted people, how would we treat the weakest (and the strongest) among us?  Of what would we take notice that we now fail to see?  How would we deal with errant neighbors and errant nation-neighbors?

O Lord, the invitation to follow You seems to be open-ended.  It doesnít come with an itinerary, a schedule, a detailed arrangement between traveler and Tour Leader.  I donít know in advance exactly where weíre going.  I donít know what You might ask of me or lead me to ask of myself.  Iím afraid to say Yes (and afraid not to).  Still, I do believe that You offer the best answer to burdens of the human family through the ages and today.  We are people who are burdened and oppressed, yes, even enslaved.  We sometimes feel abandoned and alone.  See our distress, hear our cries, and rescue us!  Bring us out with joy! Alleluia, Alleluia!

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