Today in the Gospel we hear that the Father and the Son choose to reveal themselves to the little, but choose to hide themselves from those who are great merely in worldly wisdom and learning.
Then we hear Jesus offer rest and ease to all who labor and are burdened.
However, the Gospel opened today with the words, “AT THAT TIME Jesus exclaimed....”
“At that time”— at the time he had just finished bewailing and boding unbearable, deadly woe on those who saw his mighty miracles but chose not to turn to God.
So, today’s Gospel of rest and ease is half of a picture.
In the end the whole picture is that Jesus sorely wants and warns us to make a free choice between the black and white either of living or of dying.
For two hundred, thirty-two years and two days, our nation has chosen to be free.
Freedom and its choices have consequences, and the consequences are everlasting.
In the second reading today God tells us the everlasting end of all freedoms and choices.
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.
The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.
By the power of the Spirit dwelling in us, we have a choice to make either to be raised body and soul from the dead or to be lost forever because of sin.
The Spirit is the Lord and Giver of Life.
For the Spirit to dwell in us, we must turn away from sin and its deadliness, and we must open up to God.
That is what Jesus commands three times and three ways in his Gospel today:
COME to me
TAKE my yoke upon you
LEARN from me
COME, TAKE, LEARN— three times and three ways he commands us to turn and open up with the same willing Spirit of meekness and humility that he, Jesus, has towards the Father.
If we freely choose to do and be as Jesus, then gradually— but one day fully and forever— we will share the inheritance of Jesus, and we will be able to say of ourselves what Jesus says of himself today in his Gospel.
ALL THINGS HAVE BEEN HANDED OVER TO ME BY MY FATHER.
The promise of our inheritance— with its down payment and foretaste— gives itself up for us and pours itself out for us in Christ, in the meekness and humility of his Eucharistic Body and Blood.
The New, Everlasting Covenant in the Blood of Christ promises, gives and is our ransom from sin.
We must COME, TAKE, and LEARN to receive the Eucharist with the Spirit of Christ’s own meekness and humility.
learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest
Honesty about ourselves as we stand before the Spirit of God will open our hearts to meekness and humility.
As the word of God puts it today in the second reading:
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
Before turning to the Eucharist we must turn away from sin and open ourselves in the Spirit, as Christ is open in the Spirit.
COME to me
TAKE my yoke upon you
LEARN from me
COME, TAKE, and LEARN that, in the power of the Spirit, Christ freely chose to open, to give up himself bodily, and to shed his lifeblood both to atone for sinners and to glorify the Father.
The many sinners who repent and believe are rejoined to the Father in the death and resurrection of Christ.
By the cost and glory of his death and resurrection, Christ makes E PLURIBUS UNUM— “one out of the many” who were estranged in sin.
Jesus is service in person— service of the Father, service of humanity— service in person.
As service in person, in his Eucharist, he tells us to do and be the same in memory of him.
If we FREELY CHOOSE to come to the Eucharist, if we FREELY CHOOSE to take its yoke upon us, if we FREELY CHOOSE to learn from its meekness and humility, then by God’s FREE CHOICE we will rest, by God’s FREE CHOICE we will rise, and by God’s FREE CHOICE even our bodies shall rejoice forever.
When a priest is about to show and consume the Eucharist, he first quietly says this prayer.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,
by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit,
your death brought life to the world.
By your Holy Body and Blood,
free me from all my sins and from every evil,
keep me faithful to your teaching,
and never let me be parted from you.
To stay “faithful to your teaching,” to stay “always faithful”— SEMPER FIDELIS!
With our free choice to turn away from sin, with our free choice to open up to God in meekness and humility, with our free choice to remain always faithful, God chooses to take us into the joy of the new heavens and the new earth, the true land of the free, the true home of the brave.