“Come to me, all you who are weary and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
This passage, from the day’s Gospel reading, was the starting point for Pope Francis’ reflections ahead of the Sunday Angelus.
Jesus, the Pope said, addresses this invitation to everyone, without exception, who feels weary or burdened by life. “Jesus knows how hard life can be,” he said. He knows how many things can cause our hearts to grow weary.
In the face of all these burdens of life, the first word of Jesus’ invitation is “Come.” When things are going badly, Pope Francis said, it is a mistake to remain where we are. Although this might seem evident, he continued, it is natural in moments of darkness to turn in on ourselves, to brood on the injustices of life, the ingratitude of others, or the wickedness of the world. But Jesus wants to pull us out of this “quicksand.” The way out is in the relationship, in reaching out our hand and lifting our gaze toward the one Who truly loves us.
But going out of ourselves is only the first step, the Pope said: we must also know where to go. In life, many of our goals can be deceptive, promising us rest and distracting us for a while, but ultimately leaving us as alone as when we started. They are like fireworks. And this is why Jesus says, “Come to me.” We often turn to others in times of difficulty – we must not forget to turn to Jesus, to open ourselves up to Him, and to entrust our difficulties to Him.
The Lord is waiting for us in order to help us, but this does not mean He will magically take away our difficulties. “Jesus does not take the Cross from us,” the Holy Father said; rather “He carries it with us.” When we come to Jesus, we receive peace, a peace that remains even in trials and difficulty. The Lord Himself promises this to us, repeating again at the end of the day’s Gospel reading, “Learn from me… and you will find rest for your life.”
“Let us learn to go to Jesus,” Pope Francis said in conclusion. “And while, in these summer months, we seek some respite from those things that weary the body, let us not forget to find true rest in the Lord.”