Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23;Matthew 23:1-12
The greatest among you must be your servant. (Matthew 23:11);
“If elected, I will not give in to special interest groups. I won’t forget my humble roots. I’ll be a servant of the people!” How many times have you heard an aspiring politician make these promises—only to see the exact opposite play out over time? Many a politician has promised to lighten the load of the people but, once installed, becomes just as elitist as his predecessor and loses touch with the very burdens he promised to ease!
It seems that Jesus was familiar with this tendency. But for him, it wasn’t elected officials. It was some of those who served as religious leaders in Israel. Impressed with their standing, some of the scribes and Pharisees lost track of the real burdens that everyday people were facing. Despite the good intentions of these men, the allure of elitism proved too strong, and they began enjoying their status too much to remember the call to care for the poor, the widow, and the orphan.
In contrast to these religious elites, Jesus devoted himself to setting his people free from whatever was burdening them. With words of forgiveness, he released a woman from the burden of shame over her past sins (Luke 7:36-50). While others grumbled against Zacchaeus’ taxes and extortion, Jesus offered him salvation, calling him a treas-ured son of Abraham (19:1-10). On the road to Emmaus, he consoled two downhearted disciples and lifted their hearts with words from Scripture and a taste of the bread of life (24:13-35).
Is there a burden that you’re finding hard to carry? Guilt? The pain of a wounded relationship? Powerlessness in the face of temptation? Don’t think that God is too distant to help. Jesus came not to be served but to serve. Instead of exempting himself from the Law, he fulfilled it. He became a man just like us. He shared in all the joys and sorrows we experience. He carried the cross so that we might gain heaven. Surely he can help you now!
Today, choose just one thing that is burdening you, and bring it to the Lord. Don’t think it’s too small—or too big—for him to handle. Just tell him about it. Then listen quietly for his words of comfort, wisdom, and help.
“Jesus, I surrender to you.”~WAU