The Gospel today is filled with Contradictions

  • What is hidden from the wise is revealed to the little ones
  • The King Comes to You
  • The Flesh is Death, the Spirit is Life
  • Take on my yoke - because it is easy

How are we to take this into our hearts and live it out in our lives this week?

What is hidden from the wise is revealed in these little ones.

No one comes to the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him to.

We are the Body of Christ - We are Christ in the world today - it is through His disciples that Christ is revealed.

  • How do we share Christ with those around us?  Are we willing to share our encounters with Him with others?
  • Do we choose to encounter Christ in our daily lives?  Not just on Sundays, but Monday through Saturday?
  • When we receive Christ in the Eucharist do we allow that encounter to transform us?

Yet - realize that as the disciples of Jesus Christ - we are the ones that the Son has commissioned to share the love of the Father with the world.  When we share our encounter with Christ with others in our lives, then we are sharing in the mission of Christ - Revealing the Love of the Father to His little ones.

The King comes to Us - In a normal world I need to go to the King
This is the second contradiction of the scriptures today.  In a "normal" world when we had trouble we would have to go to the King, and bribe palace officials for an audience or wait for days for the King to hear our case and then to receive his judgment.  Yet the Prophet Zechariah uses this imagery of the King coming to seek us - not with a royal procession, guards, and important people, but meek and humble, riding on the colt of an ass - a beast so small and fragile that it needs gentleness and tenderness.

The image of the King coming to help us is the image of a Father coming to the aid of a hurt child.  Perhaps he fell down and skinned his knee?  How would a loving Father respond?  Perhaps he is sick with the flu, then instead of being imperious, he would scoop his child up and place him in his own bed to get better.  Bring him Soup, crackers and care for him in his sickness.  This is the kind of King that Zechariah shows us.

The Humility that Christ has clothed himself shows up in another contradiction - the contradiction of the Flesh and the Spirit.

Christ comes to us clothed in humility.  His grace, his Spirit is like water - it is the gentlest of forces, and yet the most trans-formative of forces on the earth.  Water shapes rock, it transforms mountains, it provides life.

The Spirit versus the Flesh.  We are creatures of the Flesh yet we are also creatures of the Spirit.

That water is seeking to free us from our attachments to unclean things (to sin).  Zechariah speaks of this as the king and his kingdom coming to rid us of the weapons of war.

When I joined the Navy, I did not know how to swim.  You think that this would be an important thing for someone who might be sent away on a ship thousands of miles from the shore. In boot camp they threw us all in a pool to see who could swim.  If you couldn't, you'd thrash yourself to the side of the pool, and be assigned to the remedial swim lessons.

When we got to the swim lessons, they taught us to relax in the water, and to open up our lungs, to use our arms and legs so we could actually stay afloat.

This is an analogy for the third contradiction that shows up in the reading from St. Paul to the Romans - If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if you live according to the Spirit you will live.

Another way to think about this is how am I living - selfishly (according to the Flesh) or selflessly (according to the Spirit).

Am I spiritually downing and trashing because my arms are busy holding onto those things that lead me to Sin or am I swimming because I reaching out to live according to the Spirit.

Selfishness occurs in every sin - When I choose myself, my pleasure, my gratification, my satisfaction over God or another.

When I am busy grabbing or holding onto stuff that is for me, then I can't stay afloat (spiritually) and so I will drown.

On the other hand if I let go of the crutches that Christ is trying to free me from - from my attachment to sin then I am free to help others and to live truly according to the spirit.

This brings us to the final contradiction

My Yoke is Easy and my Burden is Light.

A Yoke is a big hunk of wood that we put on the neck of an oxen when we want to tie them to a plow and do some work - prepare a field for planting.

A Yoke, to our world today looks like an instrument of enslavement.  You are no longer free to do what you want, but you need to do what God asks.
How many of us have had to answer questions - or complaints against Christians - If you become a Christian, if you become married then you are no longer free to do what you want.

God gave us the gift of freedom in order to choose to love Him, not to do what we want - that is selfishness.  Christ invites us to take up his yoke, to allow our lives to become productive.  To prepare the soil for planting, that our sacrifice and selflessness becomes fruit for others to come to eternal life.

The Yoke is to live the Beatitudes - the commandments of Christ.  If we focus our lives to following Christ, to being his disciples then it becomes possible for Christ to transform not only us but those around us.  We then begin to respond to the grace of God that surrounds us like water and to live according to the spirit rather than according to the flesh.

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit,
  • Blessed are they who mourn,
  • Blessed are the meek,
  • Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
  • Blessed are the merciful,
  • Blessed are the clean of heart,
  • Blessed are the peacemakers,
  • Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,

Come to me all you who are labor and are burdened (with Sin) - put my Yoke upon you (live the beatitudes) for I am gentle (like a father to a sick child) and humble of heart (like water).  And you will find rest for yourselves (because you will no longer have to flee the effects of Sin).  For my Yoke is easy and my burden light (for you to illuminate to the world)...

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