Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
July 09, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.









O God, who in the abasement of your Son
have raised up a fallen world,
fill your faithful with holy joy,
for on those you have rescued from slavery to sin
you bestow eternal gladness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (RM)

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)

Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ has taught us that what we do for the least of your children we do also for him. Give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, who gave up his life and died for us, but lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCW)

First Reading (Zechariah. 9:9-10)

Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
   shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you;
   a just savior is he,
   meek, and riding on an ass,
   on a colt, the foal of an ass.
He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim,
   and the horse from Jerusalem;
   the warrior’s bow shall be banished,
   and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.
His dominion shall be from sea to sea,
   and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm (145:1-2,8-9,10-11,13-14)

R/. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.


I will extol you, O my God and King,
   and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
   and I will praise your name forever and ever.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
   slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
   and compassionate toward all his works.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
   and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
   and speak of your might.

The LORD is faithful in all his words
   and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
   and raises up all who are bowed down.

Second Reading (Romans 8:9,11-13)

Brothers and sisters:
You are not in the flesh;
   on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
   if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
   the one who raised Christ from the dead
   will give life to your mortal bodies also,
   through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Consequently, brothers and sisters,
   we are not debtors to the flesh,
   to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
   but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
   you will live.

Verse Before the Gospel

Gospel (Matthew 11:25-20)

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“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.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
   and no one knows the Father except the Son
   and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

“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.”

Catena Nova

I am the Creator and I love my work. I am the sculptor and I care for what I have made.  If I thought of my dignity, I should not rescue fallen humankind. If I failed to treat its incurable sickness with fitting remedies, it would never recover its strength. If I did not console it, it would die. If I did nothing but threaten it, it would perish. This is why I apply the salve of kindness to it where it lies.  Compassionately I bend down very low in order to raise it up.…  I do not make a show of words; I have left you the proof of my deeds. You can see that I am gentle and humble in heart from what I have become.  Consider my nature, reflect upon my dignity, and marvel at the condescension I have shown you. Think of where I came from, and of where I am as I speak to you.  Heaven is my throne, yet I talk to you standing on the earth! I am glorified on high, but because I am long-suffering. I am not angry with you, “for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“You are to “take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”   You are not learning from me how to refashion the fabric of the world, nor to create all things visible and invisible, nor to work miracles and raise the dead.   Rather, you are simply learning of me: “that I am meek and lowly in heart.”   If you wish to reach high, then begin at the lowest level.   If you are trying to construct some mighty edifice in height, you will begin with the lowest foundation.   This is humility.   However great the mass of the building you may wish to design or erect, the taller the building is to be, the deeper you will dig the foundation.   The building in the course of its erection, rises up high but he who digs its foundation, must first go down very low.  (St. Augustine of Hippo)
Hide me then in the day of evil, O Lord, in the secret place of Thy tabernacle, in the hidden recesses of Thy Face, “far from the strife of tongues” (Ps 26:5; 30:21), for Thy yoke is easy and the burden Thou hast laid on me is light (Mt 11:30). And when Thou show me the difference between Thy service and the service of the world, gently and tenderly Thou asks me if it is not better to serve Thee, the living God, than to serve strange gods (Cf 2 Chron 12:8). And I, for my part, adore the hand that lays the load, I kiss the yoke and I embrace the burden and it is very sweet to me to sweat beneath its weight. For masters other than Thee, have long possessed me… I acknowledge Thy yoke and Thy light burden which lifts me up and does not crush me down. (William of St Thierry)
How happy you will be if while you are in the world you keep Jesus Christ in your heart! Remember the principal lesson he left to us, and in only a few short words, so that we would be able to remember it: “Learn of me, for I am meek, and humble of heart.”  It is everything to have a heart that is meek toward our neighbor and humble toward God. At every moment give such a heart to our Savior, and let it be the heart of your heart. You will see that to the extent that this holy and considerate friend takes up a place in your mind, the world with its vanities and trifles will leave you. (St. Francis de Sales)
If we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey's end. But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy. … May God grant us joy as we strive earnestly to follow the way of discipleship. May we be enabled to say "No" to sin and "Yes" to the sinner. May we withstand our foes, and yet hold out to them the Word of the gospel which woos and wins the souls of men. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Dietrich Bonheoffer)
The maxim “Know thyself” suffices for my spiritual serenity and keeps me on the alert.  The secret of my success must lie there: in not “searching into things which are above my ability” and in being content to be “meek and humble of heart.”  Meekness and humbleness of heart give graciousness in receiving, speaking and dealing with people, and the patience to bear, to pity, to keep silent and to encourage.  Above all, one must always be ready for the Lord’s surprise moves, for although he treats his loved ones well, he generally likes to test them with all sorts of trials such as bodily infirmities, bitterness of soul and sometimes opposition so powerful as to transform and wear out the life of the servant of God, the life of the servant of the servants of God, making it a real martyrdom. (Pope St. John XXIII)
The “refreshment" that Christ offers to the weary and oppressed is not merely psychological solace or a lavish handout, but the joy of the poor who are evangelised and are builders of the new humanity: this is solace. Joy. The joy that Jesus gives us. It is unique. It is the joy that He Himself has. It is a message for all of us, for all people of good will, which Jesus still conveys today in the world that exalts those who become rich and powerful … But how many times do we say, “Ah, I would like to be like him, like her, who are rich, have a lot of power, lack nothing…”. The world exalts those who are rich and powerful, no matter by what means, and at times tramples upon the human being and his or her dignity. And we see this every day, the poor who are trampled underfoot… And it is a message for the Church, called to live works of mercy and to evangelise the poor, to be meek and humble. This is how the Lord wants His Church, that is, us, to be. (Pope Francis)


 The Yoke’s On Us

            Have you perhaps heard of “Transcendental Christology?”  How about “the supernatural existential?”  Surely you know what “the immanent Trinity” is as distinct from the “economic Trinity?”  Or all about “prevenient grace” and “condign merit?”  OK, one last thing – an “eschatological reservation.”  No pun intended. (Don’t ask).

            Such esoteric items should be familiar to anyone who has been through seminary and taken the required slate of courses.  I mention them to highlight how far a distance we can travel from Jesus’ saying, No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son. 

            Yet these are all attempts to make sure we're among those who have insider information about God.   The thicket of language used down through the centuries to prove we have it right, that we are the guardians of that revelation, that ocean of ink spilled in its defense, well, it makes you wonder how such matters could possibly be hidden from the wise and the learned . . . and revealed to little ones (cf. G).  Sounds like unlettered fisherman from Galilee are better suited to teach religion than those who usually occupy endowed chairs of theology at prestigious universities.   

            Alas, I am one of those theologian types, so I’m the last person to knock serious reflection on the faith, sounding and probing its depths to find suitable language for all kinds of audiences. Believe it or not, we have a vocation and a mission is crucial to the church.  This past week Pope Francis appointed a new head of the Vatican department that oversees doctrine, a fellow Argentine, Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández.  He accompanied the appointment with an unusual cover letter, as if to let everyone know his role is to be, in his words, "something very different" from many of his predecessors — reaching all the way back to the Inquisition!  

            Instead, the pope encourages "conversation with our present situation, which is in many ways unprecedented in the history of humanity" recognizing that the church “grow[s] in her interpretation of the revealed word and in her understanding of truth” without this implying the imposition of a single way of expressing it."  He goes on to acknowledge how there are, "Differing currents of thought in philosophy, theology, and pastoral practice, [which] if open to being reconciled by the Spirit in respect and love, can enable the Church to grow. This harmonious growth will preserve Christian doctrine more effectively than any control mechanism."

            Francis then affirms how, "We need a way of thinking which can convincingly present a God who loves, who forgives, who saves, who liberates, who promotes people and calls them to fraternal service.  This happens if  the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary… and the greatest danger occurs when secondary issues end up overshadowing the central ones (July 1, 2023).

            This is all to the good. Yet, I know all the learning in the world and all the best language to express the faith doesn’t mean you’ve found God.  As I said, the gospel first made inroads among those considered “foolish” -- like fishermen,  tax collectors, pagans and prostitutes.  A ragtag bunch at whom the intelligentsia — then and now — likely look down their upturned noses.

           Which suits God just fine: God, the enemy of human pretense.  God, who gave Zechariah the vision of a Savior, riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass, coming to banish things like chariots . . . horses . . . and warriors’ bows (I).  In other words, a Savior who rejects human displays of power.  A Savior who enters Jerusalem on a beast of burden, preferring public transporta­tion to chauffeured limousines.  And rather than ask other people to make his life more comfort­able, he tells them, Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest (G).  Strange God, this Savior.  While everyone else maneuvers for fame and fortune, hoping to make their own burden lighter, the Savior puts the yoke on his own shoulders, even when it turns out to be a Roman cross.

           And that’s the secret hidden from the wise and the learned: the secret to finding rest for ourselves -- a secret well-hidden in a society like ours.  For we go after things we think will make our yoke easy and our burden light, but in the end only make life more difficult, leaving us heavy-laden.  Living on credit beyond our means, believing the more we have and the sooner we have it, the happier we’ll be, that’s a siren song masquerading as the American Dream.  Till we’re crushed by the weight of everything from a mortgage payment on a home we can’t afford, to a federal deficit whose weight may yet drive us into the ground.  And we’ll be left wearing an awfully heavy yoke.  While Jesus simply asks us to learn from [him], for [he] is meek and humble of heart (G).

          But it’s not an easy lesson to learn, is it?  The world stage features lots of characters who are learning the hard way.  Just ask Vladimir Putin.  It’s a pretty steep learning curve, this meek and humble stuff, isn’t it?

          Which is why Paul reminds us how we are not debtors to the fleshif only the Spirit of God dwells in [us] (II).  For we’re in debt to someone else who shows us a different way to live and to love. Where intellectual prowess, influence and power, wealth and status, amount to little. And should we have those things-- we Americans fortunate enough to live in this land whose independence we celebrated this past week -- we must use them according to the spirit, and not according to the flesh (cf. II).  That is, the Spirit of Christ, whose way is meek and humble, gracious and merciful, good to all and compas­sionate, who lifts up all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down (RP).  Who lives and reigns with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.  

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that God will help us take up the yoke of Christ and follow him in speaking the truth lovingly, offering forgiveness to those who wrong us, and praying for our enemies.

For the grace to be childlike: that we may learn dependence upon God and surrender our attempts to control our lives through knowledge, power, or possessions.

For a greater appreciation of the Sabbath: that God will show us how to disengage from our busyness and technology so that our minds and spirits can be refreshed through prayer, relationships, and nature.

For all who are weary in body, mind, or spirit: that the Spirit will restore strength to the physically exhausted, hope to those who are emotionally worn out, and energy to all who are exhausted through loving service to others.

For release from burdens and yokes: that God will free all who are struggling with addictions, abuse, or neglect and lead them to a new beginning.

For legislators and municipal council members: that God will give them wisdom in addressing current challenges, courage to work for the greater good, and inspiration that yields new approaches for the good of those whom they serve.

For an end to injustice and discrimination: that God will change the hearts and minds of those entrapped in judging people by externals, and help everyone to recognize the God- given dignity of each person.

For an end to gun violence in families, city streets, and workplaces: that God will change hearts, protect the innocent, and bring forth a new awareness of the dignity of each life.

For peace in all the areas of conflict: that God will end the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territory, and in all other areas so that everyone may live safely and with justice.

Father, Lord of heaven and earth, by whose gracious will the mysteries of the kingdom are revealed to the childlike, make us learn from your Son humility of heart, that in shouldering his yoke we may find refreshment and rest. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Hymn

Come to me, O weary traveler,

Come to me with your distress;

Come to me, you heavy burdened,

Come to me and find your rest.

Do not fear, my yoke is easy;

Do not fear, my burden’s light;

Do not fear the path before you;

Do not run from me in fright.

Take my yoke and leave your troubles;

Take my yoke and come with me.

Take my yoke, I am beside you;

Take and learn humility.

Rest in me, O weary traveler;

Rest in me and do not fear.

Rest in me, my heart is gentle;

Rest and cast away your care.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn (John Michael Talbot)


All who are weary come unto Me
All who find life a burden
I will refresh you
Your soul will find rest
For My yoke is easy
And My burden is light

Take my yoke on your shoulders and learn
For I am gentle and humble
I will refresh you
Your soul will find rest…