The Gospel appointed for the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time gives us a window into one of the great human moments in the life of Christ. Jesus exclaims, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.”
In the parallel text in Luke’s Gospel, it says that Jesus “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” as He said these words. It’s a beautiful image for us to consider: Jesus rejoicing in the Spirit and praising His Father for the goodness of the Father’s plan of salvation. It really shows us the love shared by the Holy Trinity, and the love by which God reveals Himself to us and binds us to Himself.
Christ’s rejoicing is especially poignant because it comes at a difficult time in His earthly ministry. In the run-up to this section of Matthew’s Gospel, we see Christ describe the faithlessness of so many of the people to whom He had tried to proclaim the Kingdom of God. And just after this Sunday’s text, the Pharisees will criticize Jesus’ disciples and challenge Jesus Himself, the conspiracy to put Christ to death will begin, and they will even accuse Him of acting by the power of Satan.
So Jesus was facing rejection, visible failure, and was about to face severe criticism, accusation, and the threat of death. But in this moment we get to witness Christ’s joy, and the deep sense of fulfillment He has at seeing the faith of those He describes as the “little ones.”
Then Our Lord does something that ought to catch our special attention. Not only does He show us His joy and fulfillment, but He invites us to share in them, beginning with three simple words: “Come to me.”
“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 yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
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