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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, July 3, 2011

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

This column is part of the CNS columns package.

July 3, Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A Readings:

1) Zechariah 9:9-10

Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14

2) Romans 8:9, 11-13

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

Thankfully, it's no longer politically correct for award winners to thank "all the little people" who helped them reach their achievement. Such recognition carries an unseemly air of superiority and disrespect.

In this weekend's Gospel, Jesus indeed contrasts the wise and learned to "the little ones." But he does it in a way that elevates the latter.

That is his intent. To those who aren't blinded by their self-reliance, Jesus teaches, the grace of God's love and strength is revealed.

I've witnessed that truth more than once while visiting my church's twin parish in Haiti.

In our twin's remote village, the people have meager education and little material wealth. Yet God's presence is foremost in the consciousness of these "little ones" as they constantly acknowledge that everything they have and hold is a gift of God.

Today as I prepare for another trip to Haiti, I look forward to regaining this perspective through the faith of our Haitian community.

Last time I was there, I introduced our parish group to my longtime friend Venel. With his keen intellect and wide range of talents, Venel would surely be a government or business executive if he lived in a developed country.

As it is, he ekes out a bare livelihood through two small enterprises in his Haitian town. He also is youth minister and music minister of his parish. He's taught scores of people how to play a variety of musical instruments. He has established a ministry to poor, elderly widows, and he and his wife, who have two young daughters, have taken into their household five more needy children.

It's no wonder that every time I see Venel he's a little thinner and more worn down than before. But Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me ... and you will find rest for yourselves," and Venel believed him.

When we came to his house, although his face looked tired, Venel received us graciously, passed out bottles of water and spoke to my friends on their very first day in his country, explaining how difficult life is for his fellow Haitians.

"But I am constantly aware of living the Gospel. It is the way to heaven," he said, as the fatigue lifted from his face.


When has the truth of the Gospel been revealed to you through an unlikely source? What in your life sometimes obscures the simple reality of God's love?


"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).


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