Daily Reflection
July 7th, 2002
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Zechariah 9:9-10
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
Romans 8:9, 11-13
Matthew 11:25-30

Our First Reading of today’s liturgy sounds like it would be more appropriate for Palm Sunday.  The prophet Zechariah is proclaiming a joyful theme for Jerusalem and that a new kind of king and kingdom will be initiated with the arrival on a donkey of a person who will bring peace and banish war and the need for war.

The verses which come before this reading are prophetic denouncements of other territories and arrogant people whom God chooses not to visit.  The donkey is not a humble image as it might be in various cultures, but here it bespeaks royalty.  There is to be a different way of relating which will come to Israel and its people.  It is so hard to hear this particular prophecy today with Israel and various of its neighbors so prepared for war and violence all in some way associated with the same God.  We still wait as God’s people for that great day.

One day has come and it is the day of Jesus Whom we hear today thanking His Father for revealing the mysteries of the Kingdom to the disciples, the “little ones.”  Jesus has finished preparing them for their going out to extend the Kingdom of Peace and in these first few verses Jesus looks up as a proud eighth-grade teacher might do upon graduation day.  He sighs, perhaps smiles and says, “They aren’t much, but that’s all You gave me and I am grateful.”  He knows their frailty, their fearfulness and their potential for revealing their relationship with Jesus in the simplicity of their lives.

After His thanksgiving rapture, Jesus directs His words to us who have much to learn of Jesus.  There are different meanings of the word “know.”  There is the knowing of facts.  This is of the senses, exterior and of the intellect.  When Jesus says that we should learn of Him, He is inviting us to a deeper more interior way of knowing Him.  Learning about Jesus as in a relationship is what the disciples learned and it is this dynamic which frees them to move beyond frailty and fears.  

The “yoke” to which Jesus contrasts Himself is the heaviness of the Law.  Learning that law and learning Jesus are two opposing invitations.  This King of Peace continues to come into our personal lands to set up a camp of humble gentleness.  We are invited to let Him get close so His ways become our own.  His coming close will necessarily involve His seeing our personal hardware, bows and spears.  We have them of course, as do nations around the world.  That same arrogance and greed which prevented God from visiting the other lands in our first reading, is present in our hearts and lives as well.  Jesus continues riding in, claiming us as His land, but we have to learn of Him in His meekness and gentleness of heart.  

We have our little wars and battle lines, territories and protective spirits.  We keep Him at a safe distance so as to assure that His humility and meekness will not melt our cannons.  The great joy to which Jerusalem and we are called is that Jesus has claimed us as His territory and is committed with infinite love to come close, riding in, and He is more interested in being in relationship with us than we are interested in getting close to Him.  He is still sighing in gratefulness for us and our fragility, fears and potential for revealing Him and His Kingdom of peace.   

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