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  • Fr. John Jennings

Our Sacred Stories ~ Burdens & Blessings

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,

and I will give you rest.”(Matt. 11:28)

What relationships are part of our lives? We have many, family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Even on occasions, we have ever so brief encounters with strangers and passing relationship can affect us. These relationships are life-giving for us. They mark us and make us the persons that we are. We also must admit that they can pose burdens and challenges.

We all bear burdens - challenges and responsibilities that our lives bring us. Perhaps the greatest of our burdens and challenges involve the relationships that are part of our lives. The tensions and fractures of these relationships often weary us and seem to be heavy burdens to carry. Xxx eg leve; It is hard to let such burdens go and be at peace, at rest. To do so might well mean recovering something of what we had as children, the capacity to “take delight”. Children seem to show “delight” with such ease and enthusiasm, even in simple things.

Even in the midst of our burdens, we come to see that there is much that brings “delight”. Often in challenging times we discover the blessings of kindness and caring that come our way. Simple things touch us – the motorists who let us into the traffic line, the kind and thoughtful neighbour who reaches out when someone is in need, the friend who drops by to see how we are.

In the account of creation found in the Book of Genesis, this is how God sees the world and all that is in it – “God saw everything that was made, and indeed it was very good.” (Gen.1:31) To recognize the good in our world, to see the good in others is to see as God sees. It is to delight as God delights and with the same enthusiasm that the small child can exhibit.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is repeatedly showing his mission to be the revelation of God’s delight in us. At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5:1-12), Jesus proclaims those famous blessings, the beatitudes. It sets the tone for the whole mission of Jesus. It is a mission of blessing. This is the mission that appears in the words of Matthew’s gospel this Sunday. In the midst of the burdens and challenges of life, we are reminded that God takes delight in our world and in each of us.

The root of the word “bless” lies in the Latin verb benedicere. This verb literally means “to speak well of.” To bless someone is to do what God does, to take delight in that person. The mission of Jesus is to bless and take delight in the world and persons that God has seen as “indeed... very good.” The experiences of kindness and care over the last week are indeed blessings. As we enter the summer season, perhaps it is our opportunity to pause and count our blessings in the midst of those burdens and challenges that we and our world face. Like Jesus, perhaps we have a mission of bringing recognition of the blessings of all creation.



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