|“Come to Me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.” —Matthew 11:28|
Imagine yourself coming to Jesus with this huge burden on your back. Jesus takes the burden off your shoulders (see Ps 81:7). Before you even can thank Him and walk away unburdened, He takes a humongous burden off of His back and puts it on yours. Now you’ve got more to carry than ever before. For some reason, however, His yoke is easy and His burden light (Mt 11:30). Because this is Jesus’ burden, He is bearing most of the weight. You are another Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus carry the cross (Lk 23:26). You’re made to carry this cross. You’re rested and strengthened in carrying this cross. You come to a point where you boast of nothing but the cross of Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14).
Realistically, we cannot be unburdened in this life on earth. We can only be re-burdened with Jesus’ burden, the cross. Pretending that we can unburden ourselves makes life more burdensome. We make life harder by trying to make it easier. Paradoxically, the heaviest burden, that is, the cross, is the easiest to carry because Jesus carried it. It is in striving to carry the cross that we enter into His rest (see Heb 4:11). Take up your cross daily (Lk 9:23) and get the best rest you’ll get on this earth.
|Prayer: Father, give me both earthly and eternal rest.|
|Promise: “I am concerned about you and about the way you are being treated in Egypt.” —Ex 3:16|
|Praise: After St. Apollinaris was exiled and martyred, many miracles were attributed to him.|
Understand why this is done: Because the eyes of the wise man are in his head. The oil flows down on the beard, that is, on the grace of youth; it flows on Aaron’s beard, in order to make you a chosen race, a race of priests, bought at a great price. We are all anointed with spiritual grace to share in God’s kingdom and in priesthood.After this, you went up to the priest. Consider what followed. Was it not what David spoke of when he said: Like oil on the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron? This is the oil spoken of also by Solomon: Your name is oil poured out, so that the maidens loved you and attracted you. How many souls, reborn today, have loved you, Lord Jesus, and have said: Draw us after you; we shall make haste to follow you, in the fragrance of your garments, to breathe the fragrance of resurrection.
Then you received white garments as a sign that you had cast off the clothing of sin and put on the chaste covering of innocence, as the psalmist prophesied: You will sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be cleansed, you will wash me and I shall be made whiter than snow. One who is baptized is seen to be made clean in terms of the law and of the Gospel. In terms of the law, because Moses used a bunch of hyssop to sprinkle the blood of the lamb; in terms of the Gospel, because Christ’s garments were white as snow when in the Gospel he revealed the glory of his resurrection. The sinner who is forgiven is made whiter than snow. The Lord promised the same through Isaiah: If your sins are as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.
Wearing the garments given her in the rebirth by water, the Church says, in the words of the Song of Songs: I am black but beautiful, daughters of Jerusalem. Black because of the frailty of humanity, beautiful through grace; black because she is made up of sinners, beautiful through the sacrament of faith. When they see these garments the daughters of Jerusalem cry out in wonder: Who is this who comes up, all in white? She was black, how is she suddenly made white?
When Christ sees his Church clothed in white – for her sake he himself had put on filthy clothing, as you may read in the prophecy of Zechariah – when he sees the soul washed clean by the waters of rebirth, he cries out: How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful you are; your eyes are like the eyes of a dove, for it was in the likeness of a dove that the Holy Spirit came down from heaven.
Remember, then, that you received a spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear. Keep safe what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you and sent the Spirit into your hearts as the pledge of what is to come, as you learned in the reading from the Apostle.
|“He came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” —Exodus 3:1|
There are many mountains in life. For example, Mount Gerizim is the mountain of blessings for God’s obedient people, while Mount Ebal is the mountain of curses (Dt 27:12-13). Mount Sinai (Horeb) is the mountain of the commandments (Ex 19:2ff), and Mount Carmel is the mountain of restoring our covenant with God and overcoming idolatry and false prophets (1 Kgs 18:19ff). Ultimately, Jesus wants us to walk with Him to Mount Calvary, by which we draw “near to Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb 12:22).
To start climbing God’s mountain range, we need to begin as Moses began — on Mount Horeb (Ex 3:1). There we see God in the burning bush (Ex 3:2-4). We see God consuming us by the fire of His love (see Heb 12:29). On Mount Horeb, we hear God call our names (Ex 3:4) and reveal to us His name (Ex 3:14). Mount Horeb is holy ground (Ex 3:5). Here we take off our shoes (Ex 3:5) and humble ourselves. On Mount Horeb, we enter into the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10) and of much of the Christian life. On Mount Horeb, God calls us to set His people free.
Climb Mount Horeb. Hear your Father call you by name.
|Prayer: Father, after beginning at Horeb, may I end at Zion.|
|Promise: “No one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father but the Son — and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.” —Mt 11:27|
|Praise: Tithing led Anthony to almsgiving and to ever-growing faith.|