Fourth Sunday after Pentecost (Year A)
Scripture Readings*: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67, Psalm 45:11-18, Romans 7:15-25a, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
It was no coincidence that servant chose to identify the prospective wife for Isaac by her offer to water the camels also (24:14). Not only was it necessary for the wife of unassuming Isaac to do more than he asked of her, but it is a virtue to be desired in everyone. It is the second mile of Jesus. The person who does more than what is expected of him makes a significant contribution to life. Success comes to those who do more than is required, whether they are wives, husbands, students, teachers, or church members.
The function of the law is to detect and condemn sin, not to deliver from it. In the life of the believer there will ever be conflict between grace and corruption in the heart, between the law of God and the law of sin. Who shall deliver us? Jesus Christ is the all-sufficient Savior and Friend, who has not only purchased our deliverance, but is our advocate in Heaven, through whom we may be made victorious.
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Jesus issued a great call to those who in faith would turn to Him. He had previously condemned that generation for their childish reactions (vv. 16-19). Here He declares that only those who come to Him in childlike faith can enjoy true discipleship.
People’s weariness comes from enduring their burdens of sin and its consequences. Jesus invites us to yoke ourselves with Him. By placing our self under His yoke and learning from Him, we find rest for our souls.
Know Rest for the Weary
You can almost hear the weariness in Saint Paul’s voice. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. In these painfully honest words, we hear the fatigue of trying to measure up. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. As he continues, we can feel the weight of his soul.
If we’re honest, we can relate to Paul; which is why the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading are at first confusing. How is His yoke light? By putting on this instrument identified with work, how do we find rest?
We find our answer – and our rest – by understanding that Jesus’ yoke is one of grace. When our inability to measure up is covered by grace, we can relax. When we fully realize His grace means we are no longer condemned, we discover new resources. Like Rebekah in the Genesis reading, we can go above and beyond in meeting the needs of those we encounter. This is how the yoke of Christ brings rest for our soul.
Prayer for Fourth Sunday after Pentecost– Almighty God, give me grace to fulfill Your law by loving You and loving my neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year A