The Bishops Homily – 14th Sunday In Ordinary Time

14th Sunday In Ordinary Time
Cycle A | 9 July 2017
Zech. 9: 9-10
Rom. 8: 9-13
Mt. 11: 25-30

INTRODUCTION: What is it like to have Christ for a king? This question is raised in all three readings of this Sunday. The Prophet Zechariah is dreaming of the return of a definitive Davidic King who would restore the splendor and glory of Israel and hence bring peace to the Nation. This is a central theme of the Bible. Adam was the first king presiding over badly the world of creation. This is one way of looking at Adam’s fundamental (original) sin: bad kingship or leadership. Ever since God has been looking for his viceroy who would rule in his name according to his purposes. That kingship will attract all the other nations of the world. That is the Biblical Vision among the Prophets and in the Psalms and in II Samuel the Prophet Nathan promised that the Davidic line of kingship will last forever. Of course, by the time of Zechariah that Davidic line had come to an end; nevertheless, the substance of that dream never got lost in the consciousness of Israel. God himself will come to reign over his people.

(1) With this background in mind, listen to Zechariah’s cry: “Rejoice, rejoice, people of Zion! Shout for joy, you people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you!” (v. 9a) Does this prophetic saying not ring a bell to us who daily in newspapers and over tv see around us all kinds of human dysfunctions — violence and conflicts even among family members, that we long for some just savior to set things right? This is behind the cry of Zechariah. How will that king come? In peace! That is conveyed by “He comes . . . humble and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (v. 9b) This is the way this kind of a king comes in contrast to the known way of domination: riding on a horse with a whole army of soldiers in their combat gears. That new King in the words of Zechariah “will remove the war chariots from Israel and take the horses from Jerusalem; the bows used in battle will be destroyed. Your King will make peace.” (v. 10) In other words, this king will put to end all nuclear weapons and all weapons of war and will not fight his way around as other kings do. This is a whole new way of domination!

(2) Flash forward 500 years after Zechariah, we Christians see this new King in Jesus as he enters Jerusalem on a colt. Jesus’s Kingship is symbolized in the Cross where he swallows up all the dysfunctional ways of the world in his Divine Mercy. That way of a new David happened in Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah and this is the Gospel — the Good News! With this in mind, we understand the words of Jesus in the Gospel today: “Come to me, all you who are overburdened and I will give you rest.” Who are those overburdened? Everyone who are in economic depression, or in physical exhaustion, or psychologically sick, etc. . . who in John’s Gospel is simply called “the world” and in Paul’s Letter to the Romans in today’s second reading refers to those who “live according to human nature” in contrast to those who “live according to the spirit.” (Rom. 8: 9) What then is the solution to those overburdened? “Come to me” means to submit to Jesus’ Kingship and this new King says: “Take my yoke . . . and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Serve the purposes of this new King! The image of yoke is the commanding of one’s likes.

(3) Everyone now asks the question to himself. Is Jesus really the Lord of my sexual life, my recreation, of everything in my life? Are you totally given to him under his Kingship? When the disciple surrenders to this new order, his life becomes easier, more simple, and more joyful. What makes life burdensome? When we become captive to the old system of ordering our life! Convert yourself to the Kingdom!

CONCLUSION: As the new King enters your life, will you take his yoke upon you? Everyone answers the question for himself!

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches