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Thursday, July 17, 2003

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Exodus 3:11-20
Psalm 105:1, 5, 8-9, 24-27
Matthew 11:28-30

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the "rest" of the story

"Your souls will find rest." —Matthew 11:29

When life is getting us down, Jesus commands us to come to Him, and He promises to give us rest (Mt 11:28). Jesus is not promising us a good night's sleep or a nap. For a Jew, "rest" connotes the promised land (see Ps 95:10-11), the symbol of the fulfillment of the Jewish people's greatest aspirations. Thus, Jesus promises ultimate fulfillment to the weary and burdened.

The Catholic Church has expounded on this in the funeral Mass prayer, "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace." Jesus promises us not just "temporary relief" or a "break in the action" but the life of heaven. According to the prayer, "rest" includes "perpetual light," "the mercy of God," and "peace." In Matthew 11:28, Jesus promises to give us eternal life with Him, the beatific vision, heaven, "absolute fullness" (Col 1:19).

Therefore, "while the promise of entrance into His rest still holds" (Heb 4:1), let us come to Jesus and take the yoke of the cross on our shoulders. Let us come into His eternal rest.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to teach me the meaning of "rest" and to make me holy.

Promise:  "I am concerned about you and about the way you are being treated in Egypt; so I have decided to lead you up out of the misery of Egypt." —Ex 3:16-17

Praise:  Jane spends her Sunday afternoons taking Holy Communion to the homebound.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Am I Going to Heaven? on audio AV 54-3 or video V-54.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 29, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 31, 2002