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The gold bar and the yoke | Gospel of July 9

By 5 July, 2023No Comments
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Gospel according to Saint Matthew 11,25-30: 

At that time, Jesus said, «Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise you, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this is what pleased you. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
»Come to me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is good and my burden is light».

The gold bar and the yoke 

Luis CASASUS President of the Idente Missionaries

Rome, July 09, 2023 | XIV Sunday in Ordinary Time

Zac 9,9-10; Rom 8,9.11-13; Mt 11,25-30

It is interesting where St. Matthew puts the words of joy that we hear today from Christ: I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. In the previous lines he laments that, in spite of the signs received and the miracles they had seen, the inhabitants of the cities of Korazin and Bethsaida had not changed.

There is something to note in this statement. Jesus does not refer to some “fundamental truth” or to some privileged knowledge. He speaks of various things, which he undoubtedly tries to make us understand, as he tried to do with the ungrateful cities where he worked miracles. Without understanding some “things”, we certainly cannot walk with the Master and we do not succeed in perceiving what is good or bad, precious or useless. This happens to all of us, in one way or another. Even as we grow in age and knowledge, we lose sensitivity to “these things” and our faith cools. I would like to illustrate this with a story:

One day, a seven-year-old girl found a large piece of heavy metal. It was so thickly encrusted with dirt that even when washed, the metal did not shine. However, she knew there was metal, because it weighed so much. He ran with it (heavy as it was) to his mother, who was sitting on the back porch preparing lunch.

I’ve found gold, she cried, Gold! And she put the heavy gold bar in her mother’s lap. The mother shouted: Take that off the table, can’t you see I’m preparing the meal.

She ran with it to her father, who said behind the paper: Look, I’m reading the paper. But it’s gold, she insisted. Look how heavy it is. Look how yellow it is. It’s gold, and it could make us rich! But her insistence was in vain.

She put the gold bar in a shoebox and buried it under the magnolia tree growing in the courtyard. Once a week she dug it up to look at it.

Then she dug it up less and less… until finally she forgot to dig it up. Her mind was focused on other things.

Let’s not forget the last paragraph of the story. Life changes, presents us with new obligations, unexpected situations, unforeseen difficulties… so, in practice, we abandon the treasure we have found, trust in Christ, which is much more than believing that God exists.

Our Father Founder has instructed us on the effort needed to avoid being trapped by the events within or around us and thus to be able to gather the continuous suggestions of the Spirit. In the first place, he refers to two concrete situations of our daily life:

Intellectual Acceptance of the Gospel. This does not mean simply “not to oppose” what Christ says, but to meditate carefully, attentively and creatively on his words and works in order to apply them on appropriate occasions.

To resolve the conflicts of my passions with the Gospel lesson. This is a habit that we gradually learn, so that in moments of emotional, spiritual or relational conflict, we will be able to live according to the attitude of Christ in similar situations.

But, like the golden bar in the previous story, Christ appears discreetly. That is what the First Reading reminds us: Already your king is coming to you, riding on a donkey! He is humble but just, and he is coming to give you victory.

In addition to reflecting on the Gospel and turning to it in times of conflict, Fernando Rielo speaks to us of the Spirit of the Gospel, which is not a method, nor a strategy, nor a set of rules. It is actually living what St. Paul tells us in the Second Reading: taking advantage of the presence of the Spirit who lives in us. As he literally says: He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies.

This is not something strange, but it is an intimate, intense and beyond material presence, of which we have experience with some people we know. These people have a great influence on the course of our lives, sometimes for the good and sometimes with negative effects. The various forms of presence powerfully modify our thoughts, feelings and behavior.

As a matter of fact, I remember the case of an alcoholic who, after the death of his wife, underwent a radical change, overcoming his dependence and dedicating his life to the form of voluntary work that his deceased wife had practiced. On that occasion, it was not a physical presence, but an intense and revered memory, which had a decisive weight in all his decisions. Or as a friend of mine would say with satisfaction: How much my grandfather would have liked to see me at this moment, that I have graduated in Medicine and actually I studied that career because he was enthusiastic about it.

But, paradoxically, many of us do not pay attention to the presence of Christ, who has the ability to give us life, to enliven us, continually encouraging the best dreams, the noblest initiatives of our hearts.


When Christ speaks to us today about his yoke, perhaps we do not understand well that a yoke IS NOT an extra burden, an added weight, but an instrument that makes it easier for the animals to drag the load they have to carry. Christ wants to make our journey more bearable, and the metaphor of the yoke is very revealing, for the Bible speaks of heavy, enslaving yokes (Is 58: 6, 9) and Christ reveals to us a very different one: union with Him. Let us not forget that Joseph was a carpenter and his Son knew well what he was talking about.

The reality is that the human being NEEDS a yoke, a feeling of unity, of belonging, which often robs him of the freedom to which our capacity (or faculty) of union is called. And today’s Gospel, precisely, insists that the yoke of Christ is for those who feel tired and overburdened… a real therapy, which is nothing like and rather the opposite of what we think a yoke means.

It is not by chance that Jesus clarifies the way in which we can use this yoke, living as he did, with meekness and humility of heart.

As Mary reminds us in the Magnificat, meekness and humility of heart make God’s action in us possible and real. But it is also true that their opposites, pride and arrogance, distance us from God and from our fellow human beings. People who always speak of their supposed successes and sacrifices are insufferable and others approach them only because of the power they have, that is, out of fear, or to obtain a benefit.

A disciple of Christ who dares to be humble, as the Holy Spirit whispers within him, knows that his fidelity will bear fruit; he can observe it even in the lives of those who persecute him, for his example remains engraved in them, even if they do not accept it immediately or end the life or fame of that disciple.

Whoever is not humble, really lives in a continuous struggle – consciously or not – against God, which is truly tragic. I find it fascinating how the story of Roberto de Sicilia illustrates this reality. It is a tale that exists in many versions.

A very proud king goes to church and, during the service, he recklessly declares that he is so powerful that nothing can remove him from his throne. He immediately falls asleep and, upon awakening, finds the church deserted, his appearance transformed into that of a beggar. Roberto runs out of the church and all his courtiers treat him like a madman. No one believes his claims that he is the true ruler of all those he meets, for, as is evident, a stranger has taken Roberto’s form and supplanted him as king without anyone noticing the difference. Roberto tries to enter his throne room, gets into a fight with his own doorman and finds himself face to face with his double, who is actually an angel in disguise.

Roberto is taken out of court in disgrace, still unrecognized. He is forced to wear the garb of a madman, imprisoned and given a monkey as an advisor, dressed in the same clothes as him. Still, he refuses to give up his claim to be the true king. After many humiliations, Roberto discovers that in the court of the new king he is only tolerated as a madman. For three years, the stranger rules Sicily with great success.

Finally, Roberto de Sicilia has a religious conversion; he realizes that he is, in fact, a simple madman measuring himself against God, and accepts his new role as a madman. When he tells this to the impostor, the latter reveals to him that he is in fact an angel. He immediately returns to Heaven, and Roberto finds that those around him recognize him once again as the King of Sicily.

Our “self-importance” is really all about our “ego”, but not about true importance. If you want to realize your own importance, the old adage goes, stick your finger in a bowl of water, pull it out and… look for the hole in the water where you stuck your finger.


In the Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,