An Invitation Like No Other

July 5, 2020

Who doesn’t feel burdened these days?  Who doesn’t feel the weight of life shifting?  We live in a different world.  Who would have thought we could spend so much time washing down groceries and wiping them off before we bring them in the house?  Who doesn’t feel burdened by the reality of spouses or adult children being furloughed or without jobs?  Who doesn’t feel the weight of all the graduations being so different?  While we have become accustomed to wearing masks or face coverings, our routine has changed with how we leave the house and what we now must take with us, from hand sanitizer to wipes.  We are burdened in new ways.  To attend Mass we now must first click on the Save a Seat Reservation Link.  We can’t just show up.

The other day, I received an email from the race directors of the Fox Valley Marathon, Half Marathon, Fall Final 20 and 5K. They had to look at the current situation and make a very tough decision.  They have gone to an all virtual race as they are unable to host an event like this with social distancing and keep everyone safe.  While it was a tough decision, it was the right one.  Now, within this invitation a person like me has a chance to run the half marathon.  In the past, I could never run this race with it being held on a Sunday.  But in the virtual race, I get to pick the day and the time to run the race.  The situation has changed how I am now able to respond to the invitation.

Our situations have changed and this changes how we respond to invitation.  The same is true in today’s Gospel.  I bring to the Lord many new burdens; I bring to Him the labors of ministry that are different than I ever imagined, complete with face shields and hand sanitizers.  In all of this, what is crucial is that the One doing the inviting has not changed.  What has been promised has not changed.  Just like with the Fox Valley Race Team, the ones doing the inviting have not changed.  They are just inviting everyone to a new reality of road racing.  Jesus is still the One doing the inviting.  He is telling us, no matter how the situation has changed and how our definition of burdens have changed, He still offers us rest, gentleness and understanding.  The One doing the inviting has not changed, the difference is what we bring to Him.

On this weekend, may we respond to His great invitation.  Come to the Lord.  Seek Him and we will all find rest.

Fr. John  Ouper