December 9, 2020
by Edward Morse
Creighton University's School of Law
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 183

Isaiah 40:25-31
Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10
Matthew 11:28-30

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Today’s readings call us to look upward.  The prophet Isaiah counsels: “Lift up your eyes on high.”  We are prone to focus on the muddled environment that surrounds us at eye-level.

Reminders like this one may help us to see what we have been missing, which was actually there all the time.

We live in rural Iowa where Redtail hawks are our regular companions as we work outside on the farm.  Sometimes bald eagles also visit, particularly when waterfowl are migrating.  These magnificent birds can soar for hours while looking for food.  But sometimes they prefer to rest quietly in a tall perch that allows them to survey the landscape.  On top of a high hill in one of our pastures, a tall tree provides one of those preferred resting spots.  This tree recently died after a hailstorm, but my smart and observant wife has counseled not to take it down because the birds need it. God gives us these birds to inspire us, but He also gives us a small role in helping to lift them up – or at least not to bring them down.  Even hawks and eagles get tired; all of us creatures share the confinements of our physical nature.  We are not like God.

Psalm 103 provides a beautiful summary of the generosity of God, which we are prone to over- and under-estimate.  In the midst of troubles, we ask why and wonder if God is paying attention.  We forget that He is there with us.  In the midst of triumphs, we can easily forget that He is the author of good who is there with us, too.  We are a forgetful lot.  Reminding one another is important.  My wife keeps a post on her mirror that says, “To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.”  What an indelible mark that music makes upon our souls!  Can the song of God’s love be less indelible?  Perhaps someone we know needs to hear that song.  All of us can get tired.

Today’s gospel provides a comforting message for those who are tired now, as well as those who fear they may be tiring. This world and its regular drumbeat of demands -- along with all of the other noise that attends them -- sometimes deprives us of the silence and peace we need, from which the song of God’s love that we need to hear emerges.  Jesus is telling us that he understands the burdens, and he can help us deal with them. 

Like the hawk and the eagle, we need to soar, but we also need to rest.  Jesus is calling us to Himself, to seek out peace and silence, so that we may hear the song of God’s love.  And perhaps He is also giving us an opportunity to assist in some small way to provide a little rest for others, maybe even some music for their weary, forgetful hearts.  Thanks be to our generous God.

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