Sermon Proper 9A 2017
Gospel of Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Jesus said to the crowd, “To what will I compare this generation? It is
like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed,
you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a
demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look,
a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet
wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent
and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your
gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and
no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father
except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for
I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Disappointment can go both ways. For example, a parent can be
disappointed in their child’s choice of career, while the child can be
disappointed in their parent when not receiving enthusiastic support
about their career choice.
At times, disappointment shrouded Jesus.
He pleased crowds of people when he fed them or healed their
sick. But those same people were disappointed in him, calling Jesus a
drunkard because he gave his attention to those detested by their
religious society. For some, Jesus didn’t fit the mold of a ‘holy man’ by
the company he kept.
And, people weren’t convinced to leave their self-serving attitudes
and behaviors. So, they enjoyed the blessings without accepting
transformation. They ate their fill and then foolishly returned to their
other cravings, judgmental attitudes and exclusionary religious
Jesus was disappointed that people were not positively responding
to him. Is not God’s love compelling? There were times when his
disappointment moved to frustration. I certainly understand, and I’m
sure you do as well.
Jesus offered what he perceived and what we know to be so much
better than anything else; so much kinder, compassionate and loving, so
much more valuable for this world – a profound relationship with the
God of love.
It was difficult and frustrating for him to accept his experience of
people rejecting God’s creativity and refusing to prize God’s love being
made freely accessible.
Jesus used common imagery of his day to emphasize what he
offers in comparison to the abusive interpretations of the Law of Moses
at the hands of the elitist, religious authorities.
A yoke is a heavy harness used to maneuver and control farm
animals, most commonly oxen.
Unlike the heavy yoke the people already wore under the
demanding and judgmental leadership of the Jewish religious
establishment, Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden of demands upon his
followers is light. For with Jesus, life in relationship with God is all
about receiving, living and expressing God’s healing, compassionate,
Have you ever wondered why clergy wear a stole as a symbol of
our ordination and ecclesiastical authority?
Every time I place my priest’s stole around my neck, I’m reminded
that I belong to Jesus Christ and my ministry is to be a reflection of
Jesus’ ministry. The stole symbolizes Jesus’ yoke – for I belong to Jesus
and function in his name. And, I pray that Jesus maneuvers me so that
others may be drawn into a deeply meaningful relationship with God and
be forever blessed.
In reality, all of Jesus’ followers wear an invisible yoke. We accept
that we don’t belong to our self – we belong to Christ Jesus and his
Family. And, all of us are called and encouraged to live as Jesus lived,
reflecting God’s love to all we meet.
Some people will receive God’s love poured out through us and
others won’t want it. But like Jesus, we must keep on living it and
There’s no greater power than God’s love. And, there’s no greater
need in our world than the need for God’s healing, compassionate,
For the sake of Jesus, keep living it and sharing it. This brings a
smile to God’s heart and greatly influences the world.