REFLECTION ON THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME by DEACON TONY MARTUCCI
Some of you may recall that from December 2012 to December 2014, I underwent a series of medical issues that threatened to take me. I was homebound for much of that time with nursing care from my wife and visiting nurses. I spent weeks in the hospital. Many of you prayed for me and helped lift my burden. During those difficult times, I turned to God and had some of my closest moments to Christ. I knew I was not alone. My greatest concern was for my wife who had to take care of me and who worried about me. She needed our prayers as well.
For most of that time I was unable to attend Mass. As a daily communicant I missed being there and receiving the Eucharist. I watched on TV but it isn’t the same. For the past three months we all experienced the loss of Mass and communion. Somehow, it was worse for me this time than when I was sick. I know Christ is still present in our lives, but I longed so much to return to Mass and communion.
Our entire society has also changed during this pandemic. Uncertainty surrounds us. There are protests, violence, anxiety and fear. Some people are still out of work; some are still confined to their homes for fear of contracting the virus.
We would all agree we are living in very trying times. Uncertainty is all around us. We wear masks, and avoid crowds. We have changed many of our habits. Even here in Church, we are distanced from each other, and are warned to avoid congregating after Mass. It is as though we are living in a different world and we wonder if things will ever get back to what we called NORMAL.
Only one thing remains constant. Jesus is with us, guiding and protecting us. In the Gospel today He offers to help us carry our burdens and troubles. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” When I think of a yoke, I remember the yoke borne by oxen and mules, heavy wooden objects placed on their shoulders. I shrink from taking something like that upon myself. But it is Christ’s yoke, and He promises to help bear OUR burdens. His yoke is easy, and He helps us carry our burdens. What a great deal He offers us!
As I was undergoing my surgeries and recoveries, I knew that Christ was helping me to bear them. Your prayers and the love and the care of my wife made Christ real and alive during that crisis.
Today, as I look around at the mess that the world is in, I remember what I went through in my illness and I recall what helped me get through it. I continue to trust in Christ and you can, too. God is in control and we, Catholic Christians can turn to Him in prayer and trust.
Last week, Vice–president Pence said, “Even when things don’t seem like they’re going the way we expected, they’re going the way [God] expected.” He continued, “If we will but hold fast to Him, we’ll see our way through these challenging times, we will restore our nation’s health, we will renew our freedom, and we will inspire people across this land with our witness of the love and compassion and strength that comes in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”