From the Pastor – July 3, 2011

“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.” (Mt 11:28-30)

“Come to me,” the Lord asks us in today’s Gospel. The word used for “come” in the original Greek is “Δεῦτ唝 – pronounced “dyoo-teh.” It’s a command, and it’s directed to the entire group to whom Jesus is speaking. The same word is used by Jesus a number of times in the New Testament, speaking to a past event, a present event and a future event.

In the past event, Jesus first used to word when He saw Simon and Andrew mending their nets: “Come, after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mk 1:17). In the future event, Jesus gives us the parable of the talents, and uses the word as a future invitation to Heaven: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).

In today’s Gospel, we point to the present event: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Both of the other uses of the word “come” imply a place. “Come, follow me” implies walking along the road with Jesus. “Come . . . inherit the kingdom” implies a place in Heaven. The very word “come” implies a destination. So when Jesus says “come to me” in the Gospel today, He speaks to us. But where is He? Since He’s God, he’s certainly everywhere, but we have to constantly remind ourselves that He’s present – Really Present – in the Blessed Sacrament. “Come to me” means to “come to the Eucharist.” After celebrating Corpus Christi last weekend, we should remember that Jesus comes to us in the Blessed Sacrament, and we can respond to His invitation to “come to me” by arriving early for Mass, by going to an Adoration Chapel, or by even coming to Rectory anytime during the day and asking to spend time in the chapel. It’s the place where we can find rest from our labors and burdens.

This Sunday is the 12th anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood. I’ve now officially been a priest twice as long as a I practiced law. And believe it or not, I actually work longer hours than I ever did as an associate at Jones, Walker. Yet, I rarely feel weighed down by labors and burdens as I did practicing law. Why is that? It’s because I respond daily to Jesus’ command to “come to me.” Every day I try to spend an hour in His Presence. And He lifts my labors and burdens. And He gives me rest.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty