ALL YOU WHO LABOR
I will always remember a short preaching by Martin, a Dominican student brother and classmate at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis during my time there as a canonical novice in 2013/14. Martin, a wonderful brother now known as Ryan Taylor, preached on Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus, angry with those laying unnecessary burdens on people perceived as ‘less than’, and frustrated with unrepentant peoples, was reaching out with compassionate love to those struggling and marginalized.
Martin pointed out, however, that Jesus did not promise to remove actual burdens, rather that in and through him, they – and we - are offered rest and respite and hope. Jesus’ full humanity obligates us to offer the same to each other, especially to the most vulnerable among us. As the Talmud urges, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. We are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are we free to abandon it.”
Today, in the United States, as we celebrate Labor Day, may we find rest, respite and hope in our triune God, and may we be the heart and hands of Jesus by extending the same to others.
Kathy Flynn, OP