At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
As mentioned before in this column, the Gospel is about God’s salvation through the incarnation of his only son Jesus. Thus, our focus should always be on Jesus, who historically lived among us. It is no exception to today’s Gospel reading.
Through today’s reading, Jesus reveals a moment of intense emotion in his life, the emotion of his heartfelt thanksgiving to the Father. We can all learn from his intense emotion to be more like him because though the experience is particular to Jesus, he invites us to enter into it so that we can be as grateful as he in our human living.
First of all, Jesus realizes that the learned and clever people do not understand him. This happened at his time in Palestine and it still happens today. It is not uncommon that many learned people, particularly so-called “rational” people, do not believe in Jesus. However, Jesus is not discouraged by such people. Instead, he finds consolation in those who are “mere children”, people who are humble and know their limits. To gain a better understanding of Jesus’ emotion at this point, we can juxtapose verses 25 and 26 of today’s reading with Mary in the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).
Another layer of meaning of “mere children” is our illness as mortals. It can be our disordered affections, failures, anger, and selfishness.
How we can become “mere children”? Jesus remembers he is merely a child in the presence of his heavenly Father (verse 27). From his example, we can also become “mere children” when we have relationship with our heavenly Father. At this point, it is relevant to ask ourselves how close is our relationship with the heavenly Father because the heavenly Father is not only Jesus’ father, He is also our Father through Baptism. How are we entrusted by the heavenly Father? How can we reveal the Father in our living? All these questions lead from our identity to our gifts and finally to our mission.
Despite being misunderstood or even not trusted by his contemporaries, Jesus still experiences life as a gift. With this experience, Jesus likes to set his followers free as well. Thus, he invites all of us to come to him and take him as an example to live out our life, which is a gift of God (verses 28 – 30). It is only through Jesus that we can make out life’s challenges easy to bear and recognizes how we can be gentle and humble in our heart to serve others in our family, community, society, and the world. Amen.