DEDICATION OF SAINT MARY MAJOR
In the first reading at today's Mass we continue with the story of Moses as he leads the Chosen People through the desert. Poor Moses, what a task he has been given. First he had to confront Pharaoh. Now he has to listen to the Israelites. I'm not quite sure which one was harder.
First the Israelites complained because they had no food. (Exodus 16) In response to their plea God rained down miraculous manna from heaven. You'd think they'd be grateful. Well, think again. Today, the Israelites are complaining ... again. In Numbers 11:4-6 we read: "The children of Israel lamented, 'Would that we had meat for food! We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now we are famished; we see nothing before us but this manna.'"
Whew. Never satisfied, always complaining. "Stiff-knecked" Moses called them. The burden of leading such a people is getting to Moses. Thus, today, he laments to God: "I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me." (Numbers 11:14)
Sometimes life gets heavy. Ever been there? Marriage can be tough. Raising kids or grandkids can be challenging. Work, bills, finances, and everything else can be overwhelming. Then, in the blink of an eye years have past. Soon we admit that life hasn't met our expectations. We can want a break, but don't really know how that can happen. We too can feel like Moses, saying something like: "I cannot carry all this by myself, for it is too heavy for me."
I've heard people say: "God never gives you anything you can't handle." I agree with that, but completely different reasons. You see, contrary to popular believe, not everything happens for a reason. There is no master of fate. Free will is real. Likewise, God, while He built us to receive, doesn't give you heavy things. God doesn't make bad things happen. God doesn't will our misfortune. God doesn't long for us to suffer. God allows things to happen. He respects our free will and longs for us at every second of our life to turn to Him, entrusting our hearts and our heaviness to Him.
No, "God never gives you anything you can't handle" because doesn't give you things like that. Instead, God gives you Himself. He says in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
Your heaviness is not heavy to Him. He can carry it. In fact, He carried it all already on Calvary. When life gets heavy simply "Come to Him." His yoke (His expectations) are light, they are easy.
Life is heavy enough, you don't have to manage it alone. When life gets heavy, turn to Jesus. Ask Him for help. After all, the Israelites were complaining about a miraculous bread that appeared from thin air everyday. The same God who worked those miracles is fighting for you ... now. Be not afraid ... your life doesn't have to feel this heavy.
© Fr. Mark Toups, 2013
UNPACKING YESTERDAY'S HOMILY
This past weekend we talked about anxiety and where do we go with our anxiety. One of the things that creates anxiety is the heavy burdens we face in our daily life. Don't take your eyes off Jesus. Perhaps today you can pray with Matthew 14:22-33, the scene of Saint Peter sinking in the water because he took his eyes off of Jesus. Be Peter ... be in the scene ... Jesus calls you out the boat ... Jesus asks you to look at Him. What it's like when you're looking at Jesus ... and notice what happens when you take your eyes off of Him. Ask yourself today: why do you take your eyes off of Jesus? When do you take your eyes off of Jesus? What happens in your life when you take your eyes off of Jesus?
TODAY'S QUOTE FROM POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI
"The important thing today… is for us to see clearly and anew, that God is present, that He is concerned with us and responds to us."
― General Audience, October 10, 2012
WHAT IS SAINT MARY MAJOR AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?