Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Isaiah 26:7-9.12.16-19; Matthew 11:28-30)
The eighty year-old women knelt beside her bed every night. Rosary in hand, she prayed for her family. She did not have children of her own; she never married. But she prayed for her sisters and brother, her nephews and niece, and her grand-nieces and nephew. Did she pray for herself? Probably she did since her life was not the happiest. Her solitariness likely called within her like a broken record, “What’s wrong with you, Mary? What’s wrong with you?
In today’s gospel Jesus particularly invites those who never married and the widowed, the divorced and homosexuals who try to live chastely to share their burden with him. He will give them support because he too felt loneliness as a burden. He never married but that does not seem to have caused him grief. Rather it was being betrayed by one trusted disciple and denied by another, being condemned by the leaders of his nation and being scorned by Rome, the supposedly great defenders of justice at the time, that made him feel abandoned. His forlornness is dramatically demonstrated on the cross when he cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus asks all of us to take upon ourselves this yoke of loneliness. He wants us to love one another – both friend and foe – even when it is difficult. It seems like a daunting challenge, but it turns out to be the way to happiness, precisely because we share it with him.