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A Scripture Reflection for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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by Sallie Latkovich, CSJ | July 9, 2017

A Scripture Reflection for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 9, 2017: Zec 9:9-10; Ps 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14; Rom 8:9, 11-13; Mt 11:25-30

Some years ago, there was a rather famous commercial where a woman was in her kitchen, making dinner. Her elderly mother comes in and lifts the lid off a pot on the stove. The woman chastises the mother with the words: "Mother, please, I'd rather do it myself." For many of us on many occasions, we might act that way toward God, telling God "I'd rather do it myself."  The readings today reveal a God of love and compassion who wants to be part of our lives, if we so allow.
 
In the first reading from Zechariah, the prophet speaks on God's behalf, saying: REJOICE HEARTILY and SHOUT FOR JOY. This directive is in response to the announcement that "your king shall come to you." Those of us who have not lived in a monarchy may have a difficult time understanding the responsibilities of a king aside from the ostentatious dress and lifestyle. It was the duty of the king to protect his people and his land, to provide for their well-being. Such is the promise of Zechariah of the king who comes, and this king is in fact God.
 
The passage goes on to reveal this God, who is a just savior. Justice, the Hebrew word mishpat, is the quality of being in right-relationship with all, and is most often spoken in regard to care for the most vulnerable. This king is our God of justice. Another clear revelation in the Hebrew Bible is God's saving nature: so evident in the Exodus account of saving Israel from slavery in Egypt, and later saving Israel from Exile in Babylon. We certainly do rejoice in this king, our God.
 
Zechariah goes on to describe the king as humble, not riding on a great steed but a simple farm animal. Our God will banish the warrior's bow; that is, will do away with weapons of violence, and will proclaim peace, where there is no fear of war. The dominion of God is far-reaching, has no bounds. There really is cause for joyful rejoicing in the recognition of this king, our God who comes.
 
In case we missed it in the text from Zechariah, Psalm 145 continues to sing of the qualities of our good and gracious God: kind and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in mercy with compassion for all in word and in deed; furthermore, God  supports all who fall  and raises up those who are bowed down. 
 
Paul exhorts us to recognize that we are in the spirit if only the Spirit of God dwells in us. Both the reading from Zechariah and from the Gospel provide us with the qualities of God, that dwell in us if we believe and welcome this God into our lives--mind, heart and soul. We are called to reflect God, to be the image of God, in our world so desperately in need of God's loving care.
 
The familiar invitation, Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, abides with us, as these are the concluding words of the Gospel for today. We have, each and all of us, experienced the burden and labor of the human condition. And, we do have a tendency to handle it all ourselves, relying on our own strength and power.
 
In 1992, Dolly Parton starred in a movie called Straight Talk in which she inadvertently became a radio talk show host. She had a frequent caller who complained endlessly about the burdens of her life. Finally, Dolly responds to the complainer saying: "Come down off your cross, honey, someone else needs the wood!" The line was received with knowing laughter.
 
We are welcomed by our God to give up our preference like the woman in the commercial to "do it ourselves." Or, like the caller in the movie, to cling to our crosses. God invites us to nestle in, and to find our rest, our respite in God's own self. In the readings for today, we are reminded of who God is. May we find this God in the experiences of our lives, and may we indeed "rejoice heartily and sing for joy!"
 

The above image is from the Public Domain.

Author information Sallie Latkovich, CSJ

Adjunct Professor of Biblical Spirituality
B.A., Cleveland State University; M.A. equivalent, St. Norbert College; D.Min., Graduate Theological Foundation

Sallie Latkovich's personal experience and interest is in ongoing education for religious women, as well as formation of a well-informed laity. In the tradition of Barbara Bowe, she teaches Biblical Foundations of Spirituality each spring semester. Sallie is also the Director of the Biblical Study and Travel Program as well as the Summer Institute.

Her publications include reflections on the Sunday readings for CTU, A Consumer's Guide to Spiritual DirectionMining the Meaning of the Bible (also in DVD format), and When Your Adult Children Don't Go to Mass. Sallie also recorded the CD set Matthew for Teaching and Preaching.

slatkovich@ctu.edu

Books written by Sallie Latkovich

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