July 6, 2014 – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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There is a magazine that has wide appeal to a lot of women. It is called “Real Simple”. I have to admit I liked the idea. I subscribed to the magazine when the Catholic School was doing a fundraiser. I could picture myself on my porch swing with a glass of ice cold lemonade leaning against my striped pillows leisurely gazing through “Real Simple.” The birds were singing. The sun was shining and all was right with the world. I would be in control. This would make me happy.

The subscription of course, started in January, so no pillows, swing, birds, lemonade or sun. Still I took my coveted first copy and laid it on the counter to read after I was done making dinner. Until I spilled sauce on it. I hastily wiped it off until I could read it later, but now I had to take my teenage daughter to dance. When I returned, the phone was ringing.. . .a solicitor. The dogs were going crazy chasing our cat around the house and my son had some questions about geometry. “Real Simple” would have to wait.

After dinner, dishes, a few text messages about work, geometry, teenager dance pick up and dog refereeing, I needed to take our puppy to obedience school. I returned 90 minutes later to a daughter who needed help with molecular biology. By now, “Real Simple” was just taunting me.

The night wore on. I took a shower and got ready for bed. I donned my glasses and snuggled under the quilt. At last life would be “Real Simple.” It smelled like spaghetti sauce, but that was okay. I joyously opened the cover to find, an advertisement, then another, then another. The first six pages were all advertisements. There was nothing “Real Simple.” Most of the magazine talked about how to deal with clutter. Hmm. I thought. . . I know how you deal with clutter. . . it’s called a garbage bag and a charity. I was disappointed, mostly in my self for thinking that a magazine could actually teach me something about living “Real Simple.”

Today’s readings are from Zechariah 9, Romans 8 and Matthew 11 . These are for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In each reading, Jesus is portrayed as being “Real Simple.” Zechariah says that His kingdom is from sea sea, but He will come riding on a donkey. He is not being carried, He is not riding a chariot. He is just riding a plain old donkey. Romans 8 warns that if we live by the flesh, we’ll die by the flesh. Our lives are spiritual, not physical.
Matthew 11 has Jesus calling us. . . . actually calling us to himself. He is saying that his burden is light. He is meek and humble. He will give us rest.

Jesus isn’t asking anything from us. Just to come before Gim humbly. Sadly, humility is not something that is not appreciated by most people. But then, Jesus is not most people. If you look up humility it means to lower oneself, to accept your limitations or to submit to Divine grace. I think I’d like to shoot for all three. Maybe Jesus is telling us that we don’t need all this stuff that we surround ourselves with. We don’t need a schedule that keeps us moving faster than a rollerskating waitress. We don’t need to constantly prove ourselves to everyone so that that they can see how good we are. We don’t need to pretend that we are something we are not. We don’t need to pretend that we don’t need Jesus. . . .because we do. When left to our own devices life can spiral out of control. It will never be what we hoped. When we come humbly to our Savior and accept his yoke, our lives will change for the better in a million little ways beyond what we can even fathom. It will go way beyond striped pillows and a porch swing. He promises rest and comfort that endures. Living Real Simple can not be found in a magazine, an app, self help book, HGTV or any mall. It is found only in Christ.

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