Many years ago, I made a retreat at the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani in Kentucky. The retreat master was a marvelous priest by the name of Father John Vianney. He has died in the intervening years, but I remember that retreat very well. He started off by telling us that he would preach on only two words of Jesus. I sat there wondering how in the world he would get enough out of two words to provide material for a whole retreat. Believe me, HE DID! The two words were “Follow me.”
Today’s Mass brings us in the gospel some of the most appealing, the most encouraging, the most beautiful words of our Divine Lord in all the gospels. They are these: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.”
Words like these from the lips of Christ can provide us with plenty to think about and to pray about for the rest of our lives. They are filled with love, with support, with encouragement, with the assurance of God’s love for us, His concern for us, His ability to fill our needs, the tenderness of the Heart of Jesus for all those who will accept his invitation: come to me. Remember: this is God speaking to his creatures and saying to them: come to me. This is not about a physical approach, but rather a loving approach of the heart of each individual human being to the heart of God. It is the opposite of sin, the exercise of faith and hope and love, the reaching out to grasp firmly the divine hand that will lead us securely through life and into eternity. The next time you are at Mass; the next time you are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar; the next time you see a crucifix or other sacred image, remember that Jesus is saying to you: come to me. Learn of me. You will find rest. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.