Readings: Romans 7:15-25a, Matthew 11:16-30
Following Jesus is a way of life that is continual repentance.
Jesus’ words of condemnation to the crowds in Matthew 11:20-24 are worrisome when we really examine our own nature. As St. Paul wrote, “I can will what is right, but I cannot do it (verse 18).” He wrestles with this inability to really live up to God’s law and Jesus’ commands as well as we should. “I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members (Romans 7:22-23).” Like the laws of motion, or thermodynamics, there is for Paul the inescapable law of sin.
As Christians, we are both saint and sinner. We are freed from the power of sin by our baptism into Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, but the fullness of that promise is yet to come. So, the Christian life is one of continual repentance, continual turning, again and again back to our Savior who alone frees us from the destructive power of sin: again, and again, day after day. St Paul writes, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” It is Jesus Christ our Lord, alone, who is our freedom.
Hear these words of Jesus today, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus offers rest for you. He offers rest for all of us, and for the whole world with those quiet, tender words, “come…”
His is an invitation that is not passive. His invitation is one that goes to death on the cross and back to life to pursue every one of you. He takes on all the sin of the world, and still he calls, “come.”
His invitation is soft and tender, but it is the most powerful, loving, surprising, and persistent invitation. And it has the power to call even the most wretched of people and situations to life and salvation.
Hear the call of Jesus today: at the communion table, at the baptismal font, in your daily prayer, in your everyday business and play…
“Come to me all you… and I will give you rest.”