Dueteronomy 7:6-11 – Psalm 103 – 1 John 4:7-16 – Matthew 11:35-30
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
These words from today’s Holy Gospel are the invitation to all of us to find our rest and fulfillment in Jesus. That seems to mean that if we really come fully into the Lord’s presence we will find, even here on earth, something of perfect rest. Still, it’s important for us to remember that we can’t find that “green pastures” kind of rest unless we are known by the Good Shepherd. If we look at the lives of almost any of the great saints we can see that they were able to do incredible works with almost a tireless stamina. They were, in a way, able to do this because they first centered their lives on the Love of Jesus. I can’t help but think of saints like St.Francis Cabrini who, in days when travel was anything but easy made all those trips back and forth from Europe to the US. And, she, herself, was deadly afraid of travel over water! St. Katherine Drexel is another example of one who first established her relationship with Jesus and was able to see through His eyes the needs of Native Americans – the poorest and least cared for people of her time. Our own St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena were able to undertake serious travel – often by foot – in order to share the vision that they had of the Love of Christ. I have to wonder how St. Catherine ever managed to even survive since she was the 28th child in her family!
The only answer to how holy men and women are able to do such incredible works can only be their focus on the love and presence of Jesus in their lives. Today’s Solemnity gives us another invitation to put our focus and attention on the Sacred Heart of Jesus whose heart was pierced for our salvation. I still have fond memories of my growing up years in Catholic grammar school where we paid special honor to the First Friday’s Mass. I can still sing that old hymn, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, font of love and mercy, to thee we cry thy blessings to bestow…” There’s something key in the words to this hymn: “font of love and mercy” It tells us that we first have to come to Jesus if we want to be ambassadors of HIS love and mercy. Most of us get this backwards thinking that doing good works will eventually lead us closer to God. We have to “seek the Good Shepherd” first and then He will lead us into the green pastures. THEN we are able to go out into the world – sharing what we have received in seeking closeness with Jesus. All those holy men and women, down through the ages, weren’t able to do, what many would think impossible, because they were clever. They did it because they first found strength and life from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “font of love and mercy!” Amen!