Sunday Scripture readings, July 9, 2017


Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle A. Readings
1) Zechariah 9:9-10
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
2) Romans 8:9, 11-13
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30
When in England, I went to visit my nephew Dominic. He lives in a group home with several other mentally challenged young adults. Dominic, with severe Down syndrome, has no speech. On this visit it was clear that Dominic recognized me and even reached out to touch me, something he never had done before. I was deeply moved. Walking back to the subway my memory took me back to the time when he was born.
My sister had had a difficult pregnancy. This was her second child, and the birth of a boy was greeted with joy. However, shortly thereafter the doctors came bearing somber news: The baby had Down syndrome.

Word to Life for July 9, 2017
“Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest.” — Matthew 11:29

I remember the letter that my sister wrote to our mother soon after the birth. In it she gravely appraises mother of the facts and then goes on to reflect on the implications of the event. Unquestioningly she accepts this child as a gift from God especially entrusted to her.
That was 30 years ago, and my sister has died. Her life was marked by a single-minded commitment to Dominic’s welfare. Her marriage broke up under the strain, but she persisted in finding and promoting the very best for her special son. In the end she found an ideal placement for Dominic. At that point she seemed to relax, and the disease she had battled so successfully for so many years finally claimed her.
Why these memories? Because the Scriptures this weekend contain a familiar, but difficult text. “Take my yoke upon you,” Jesus says. “For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Which one of us when carrying that yoke has not protested, perhaps silently, about the truth of those words? Was my sister’s yoke easy to bear? Definitely not. Was her burden light? No again. It was heavy, onerous, exhausting. Was the yoke made specially for her, did it fit her well? Here I have to say yes. And in bearing that yoke, she and Dominic became the best they could be.
— Bozena Cloutier
Recall some of the yokes you have had to carry. Did you ever reflect on Jesus’ words “my yoke is easy”? Were they true for you? In retrospect, how do you evaluate those experiences? Were they for your growth?