July 5, 2020 — Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
ZEC 9:9-10; PS 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14; ROM 8:9, 11-13; MT 11:25-30
The theme of humility is central to our readings today. God Himself is a humble God, so if we wish to follow Him as Christian stewards, we too, must be humble. In fact, humility is key to the stewardship way of life, and to a peaceful and fulfilling life.
Our first reading from Zechariah foretells the unexpected way in which the Lord, the Savior of the world, will arrive. “See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek and riding on an ass… and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.” It is almost unfathomable that our almighty, all-powerful God would humble Himself to live among us as one of our own, let alone to contemplate the unassuming way in which He arrived — born as a helpless baby, growing up under the care of human parents and finally making his entrance as savior on a lowly colt. Christ has given us a clear and compelling model of humility. We dare not pursue any other path for ourselves if we wish to follow after Him.
But this kind of humility goes against our natural, worldly bent which says we must insist on having our own way, assert our rights at all costs, and put ourselves first so as to get ahead. How can we live the radical way Christ is calling us to live?
As St. Paul tells us in the letter to the Romans, our second reading today, “Brothers and sisters: You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit.” Because of the gifts of our Baptism and Confirmation, we have a “super power” right within us — the Holy Spirit — Who gives us every spiritual gift and all the strength we need to follow Christ. We must awaken to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, leaning into Him to increase virtue in us, especially this key virtue of humility. Paul reminds us that this is for our own good after all — “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
In our Gospel passage from Matthew, Jesus Himself speaks to the Father of the privileged role that humble souls play in God’s plan of salvation. “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.”
What does it mean to be a “little one”? It means that we acknowledge we don’t have it all figured out, but that we are very much in need of a savior. It means we recognize that all we are and all we have been given is a gift from God. It means we embrace the stewardship way of life.
It is not easy, but deep peace and consolation come with this way of life. Jesus offers these warm and encouraging words to entice us to embrace it. “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.”