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Brother Sun

November 25, 2016

I am certain that each and every one of us have all felt weary and burdened at one time or another.  Here, not only is Jesus inviting the weary and the burdened: but reminds us that he is one of them!  The fierce interpretations levied out by the Pharisees and scribes, handing out the “yoke” of rabbinical Law, are oppressing the poor of the day.  This is why the Lord is constantly reaching out to them.  Pope Francis himself has been stirring up controversy by condemning the perpetuation of social strata and injustice levied upon the poor.  In our country, many discussions center on the elite 1%, and the 99% who are struggling.  Even our own heritage from the turn of the 20th century advocates with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  A century later we might argue that golden opportunity seems only for the privileged few.  Agree, disagree, it is not what matters here.  Only taking up the Lord’s yoke matters.  Why?

Because the yoke Jesus refers to is submission to the reign of God.  By submitting, it is taking on not more burden, but actually making it easier to bear the burdens we already have; a yoke is an instrument for two to work – we are one… and Christ Himself is there with you to lighten the load.  Why?  Well, he tells you in His Gospel – “… no one knows the Father except the Son AND anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”  Francis was one of those to whom God was revealed.

In his forty-four years, he certainly traveled widely, and accomplished much.  One of my favorite stories is when he traveled to talk to the Sultan of Egypt, during the Crusade.  He was granted an audience with the Saracen, attempts to convert him (and succeeded some accounts say), and then goes on his way.

because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world

He was not terribly literate, writing three circulars all on the same thing: one to all deacons, priests, and bishops, one to all those in consecrated life, and one to the laity, on the proper handling, storage and disposition, of the Eucharist.  It is said that when walking by the outside of a church, because of the blessed sacrament, he would fall on his face, and shout, “Adoramus te, sanctissime Domine Jesu Christe” – “We adore you most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches in the world, and we bless you; because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.”  With this, St. Francis began the earliest form of what we would call now adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  And really it goes hand in hand with today’s Scripture.  We are to take up that yoke – with Christ –  and with faith, realize the lightening of one’s burdens.

When we submit to the will of God, we maintain faith, and are released from our burdens, in order to discover it is easier to live under his will than to reject it.  St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

 

Love, Papa

October 4, 2016, Tuesday, Memorial Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Galatians 6:14-18.  I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

Responsorial – Psalm 16: cf. 5a.  You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Matthew 11:25-30.  I am meek and humble of heart.

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