Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
MT 11:25-30
July 9, 2017

The experts tell us that: Every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. So a person who is 10 pounds overweight has 40 pounds of extra pressure on the knees; if a person is 100 pounds overweight, that is 400 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. It’s a whole lot of work carrying around an additional 40 pounds everywhere you go. It amounts to slave labor, taking a major toll on every part of the body, when one is forced to move 400 pounds throughout the day.

And then there are the things that weigh heavy on the mind, which are, in many ways, more debilitating than obesity — things such as debt, ambition, envy, greed, anger, the desire for revenge…the list goes on and on…and can be as debilitating and destructive as 100 extra pounds of body fat. If airlines were to charge for emotional baggage, a lot of flights would be canceled. Few could afford to fly.

St. Paul to the rescue!

In our Second Reading (Romans 8:9, 11-13) we are reminded that there is a “better part of us”…our spiritual self…that can’t gain weight. When we are in touch with our true selves, all worries and concerns, even the real ones that require our attention, become lighter and much more manageable. The better part of us, that part that God created with the ability to outlast time, is not flesh, “On the contrary; we are in the Spirit if only the Spirit of God dwells in us.” When we recall that we leave all of our cares and concerns behind “in time” when the better part of us moves into eternity; then somehow, we manage to enjoy greater control over the things that burden us.

Certainly, good physical and mental health are important. After all, God has seen fit to package the better part of us “in the flesh.” We should take care to be good stewards of our minds and our bodies. But, when we give priority to the better part of us…our spiritual lives…somehow, some way…everything else seems to become lighter and easier to carry.

Supported by the First Reading, this little Gospel passage (Matt.11:25-30) should inspire us to relieve the pressure we place on our bodies and our minds by laying aside those things that have a stranglehold on us, weigh us down, and prevent our spirits from soaring! Moreover, Jesus assures us that it isn’t complicated; it’s a simple matter. It doesn’t require the expertise of a dietitian or a personal trainer or a psychologist.

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has proven that even though the better part of us is packaged in flesh and bones, our earthly bodies cannot weigh down our spirits…so long as the Spirit of Christ dwells within us.

As we move deeper into Ordinary Time, exploring the Mysteries of Faith, help to take the pressure off your bones by including Eucharist in your food plan, and calm your frayed nerves by God’s Word proclaimed. Walk lighter…live lighter!

Walk in the Light of Christ. Live Jesus! It’s that simple!