Reflections 5th July 2020

A Reflection for the Fourteenth Sunday of the Year

MT 11 25-30 (

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (The opening sentence from ‘Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens.)

Living in these times we can identify with the sentiments of Dickens.

For the past four months we have been plagued with COVID-19.  The whole world has been affected. Our former way of living has been utterly changed. We have: confinement to rooms, social distancing, face masks, fear of infection… All this has added up to the worst of times. 

But what else has emerged from this pandemic?  Friends have rallied around, with care and concern. A family spirit, not evident to a great extent in the past, has emerged.

In the gospel today we hear Jesus offer a prayer of thanks – a surprise since his followers and those who have questioned him are very much in doubt about what he is teaching.  It’s almost as if his mission is a failure. The learned, the clever, the educated fail to grasp his message.

To appreciate the truth that Jesus is putting before us demands a spirit of quiet and discernment.

Those who welcomed his message and who grew in their understanding of it were the “little ones” – those on the fringes of society. The result of doing God’s will is peace.

“The measure of greatness is the ability to share, to become little and in that way to become great through participation” said Pope Benedict XVI.

Jesus became little, meek and humble of heart – all has been given to him by the Father.  The Holy Spirit breathes into us meekness and humility of heart and helps us to be aware of and receive the gifts of God the Father.

So many are struggling world-wide because of COVID-19, Jesus wants us in our pains to come to Him and rest in his strength.

To quote St. Augustine: “Where there is love there is no toil. The toil is loved.”

“If you haven’t discovered something worth dying for, you haven’t found something worth living for.” (Martin Luther King).  Like King we need a dream that is worth the effort and sacrifice to make it real.

When our lockdown was over, a confrère of mine decided to grow vegetables in our garden, in ground that was very hard.  He had a dream. I was pessimistic: “The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails.” (William Arthur Ward). The realist won out, now the new fruit and vegetables – carrots, beetroot, lettuces, tomatoes, strawberries and rhubarb – are flourishing, and disciples have followed.

Jesus has a dream for us – “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest, peace of mind.”  Our response is that we keep in close contact with Him through prayer and good works.

Joe Beere C.S.Sp. – Ordained in 1963, Fr. Joe is from Co. Laois. He missioned for many years in Sierra Leone. In Ireland his many roles have included teaching, administrative and pastoral.