Fr. Zack rightly asserts in his reflection for the 14 SIOT that Jesus’ invitation to shelter and rest are some of his most gentle words in the Gospels, and that invitation is central to our roles as His followers. While the word “rest” may intimate a pause from work or the growing number of responsibilities we all share (and that could entirely be a necessary avenue for those who are indeed weary), we know Jesus is eager to aid in rest for our souls. This is the rest that we all long for, the rest that will one day be uninterrupted in the bliss of heaven.
It is no coincidence that we heard this same Gospel three weeks ago as we celebrated our parish feast, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart. “Behold the heart that has so loved humanity,” wrote St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in her journals recounting Jesus’ words to her as He appeared bestowing the Sacred Heart. As His followers, we are called to extend the invitation of rest for those around us who are weary. While we all face our own challenges and tribulations, there are times when our burden allows us to shoulder that of others, and times when we ourselves are the ones in need of help. We can emulate His love for humanity and the love of His Sacred Heart with those who are burdened.
Equally, we can turn to Him when we are burdened. This Gospel stands out to me more than most, as it was an invitation to reengage with my faith after I had fallen away from the Church when I was in college. That reconnection didn’t come from a traditional source per se, like hearing the Gospel at Mass, or reading its verses during a bible study. Alternative-rock band Thrice, known for occasionally mixing Christian themes and theology into their songs, released “Come All You Weary” in 2008, a first-person take on Jesus’ invitation featuring a folk, or almost country-western feel, with slow-building acoustic guitars and gravelly vocals. I am a big fan of the band, both then and now, and drew to the song like a moth to a flame. I had lost faith in the work I was doing. I had stopped attending Mass. I had stopped praying. Then I found this song, and its reminder that He is always there to give us rest.
“Come all you weary, you cripples, you lame
I’ll help you along, you can lay down your canes
We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ll travel as friends
The light’s growing bright, further up, further in.”
I encourage you to listen to the song once or twice this week, and consider ways to embody His invitation to those around you. You can find the song from this link.
– Rob Boelke, Manager of Communications