Homily – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Now, do me a favor and just put in the back of your mind somewhere the question: Do we really believe that the yoke is easy and the burden light?

Just put that in the back of the mind somewhere. How do each and every one of us answer that question?

Now, have we all had the experience of jumping to a conclusion?

We thought we understood what was going on. We thought we had all the data, but in fact, we really didn’t understand what was going on.

Now, in fairness, we thought we understood, but that was really not what was going on at all.

We jumped to the conclusion and we based what we thought and what we thought was happening without really knowing all the details, especially if the situation is a tough one or one that is making us a little angry.

Have we all had that situation? You’re not going to reveal anything to me this morning, are you?

Well, it seems that the reason we do that is most of us are so busy that we don’t have time really to put all the pieces together.

So, for example, parents, when you see the report card and you see the C minus, do we stop and say, “So it’s plain what happened in this class?”

Or do we just jump to the conclusion that it’s all the students fault?

What didn’t you do now, having taught for 51 years?

I would say most of the time that is the case, but not always.

Today we spend so much time running around moving from task to task.

Literally, we don’t take the time to stop and wonder.

We don’t take the time to stop and ask what really is going on.

And most important of all, how often do we stop and ask, where is the Holy Spirit leading us?

That’s really at the heart of this second reading. Are we in the midst of all of the busyness?

Taking time to listen to the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is going to lead and guide us so that we don’t in fact have to jump to conclusions.

And that leads us to the heart of our first reading.

The Prophet Jeremiah is giving us a vision.

The light we hear in the Prophet Zechariah, it is the vision of the Messiah, the one who is to come into the world to save us.

And the people of Israel thought this was going to be a strong military leader.

They had jumped to the conclusion that the way to be God’s holy people was to be a people.

That was quick to judgment and anger and violence, to conquer everyone around them.

After all, they had been in exile in Babylonia.

After all, they had witnessed their people being taken to a foreign country.

They had witnessed the disaster that happened to the nation’s economy.

There was nothing to eat. There was no one to do the work.

The land was going uncultivated.

And worst of all, the temple, their sacred site had been desecrated.

How in the world could God’s chosen people think that the yoke was easy and the burden of light?

And yet Zachariah’s vision that we heard today is one of beauty, is one of peace.

It is a king on the way, bringing Jerusalem back as the light to all the nations.

God’s dominion would be everywhere in the world.

Even here in a country they didn’t even know existed.

Their king was going to come again and they would welcome him on their arrival.

And they had jumped to the conclusion that this was going to be an earthquake.

Well, no wonder they were so confused when the king arrived.

And what did he say? I am meek and humble of heart.

Come to me, all of you. Heart, heavily burdened for my yoke is easy.

My burden light. Wow. This is a different kingdom than the one they expected.

This is not the kingdom they thought was coming.

They were not ready to greet this king when he did arrive.

They didn’t stop. They didn’t look around.

They didn’t consider a different vision.

How often is it that we don’t look around, don’t consider a different vision, but jump to the conclusion that was is good?

And what we expected is what we want. We learn a lot from today’s gospel.

They really challenge us to consider new insights, new actions, to be reeducated about what it means to be a Catholic in the 21st century.

It invites us to be like little children who are going to go to the School of Evangelization to sit at the knee of Christ Jesus and learn what has been revealed through this new king.

So. The next time I am tempted to jump to a conclusion, which is probably going to be about 10:15.

I’m going to stop. I’m going to force myself to slow down.

I am going to place myself in the presence of the Holy Spirit, convinced that the King of glory has come,

that there is a new way, that he does, in fact mean come to me all you labor and our burden, and I will give you rest.

Because when we look with new eyes, we may not jump to the same old conclusions.

We may not see the data exactly the same way when we hear Jesus look to our hearts.

And right. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.

For I am meek and humble of heart. Invites our hearts to be different.

So the prophecy invites us to consider a chance to change our minds, to reconsider, not to jump to a conclusion, but to stop and look around.

Now, let’s go back to that question I asked after hearing the Gospel today.

Do we, in fact, believe the words?

For my burden is easy. The burden is light.

I will give you rest. For the one who promises this is the king of Zachariah’s vision, Christ Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.