From His Very Heart

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A traditional Herz-Jesu-Feuer ("Sacred Heart fire") on the slope of Mount Ifinger in South Tyrol, Italy, 2009. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, Wikimedia.

Is there a more welcoming, encouraging invitation from Jesus than, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”? In an anxious and unsettled world, and with us easily caught up in it, is there a word from Jesus that is more needed?  

No one is excluded from this invitation. Each of us can come with our stresses and worries, our regrets from the past and our fears for the future, even the contradictions between life as we know it and life as we want it to be. Every burden that threatens to wear us down—moral, physical, emotional, spiritual, financial—can be entrusted to the life, strength, and hope that comes from God in Jesus Christ. Not even our sins need keep us from life made new. God “loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). This is the very promise and pledge that Jesus offers throughout the Gospels: that he came not to call the righteous but sinners, that his healing grace is for any and all who know their need for God.  

Jesus’ welcome and invitation comes from his very heart, his self-giving life and love, his death and resurrection revealing the faithfulness of God. By Jesus’ invitation, our sin is exchanged for his forgiveness, our death for new life, our burdens for renewed hope. The one who carried the cross for our sake will carry our burdens, too.  

© Liturgical Press.

Fr. Mark Strobel

Mark Strobel is the dean of Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral, Fargo, North Dakota, and is a Benedictine oblate of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota

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