Place no burden
‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden.”
Ask any teacher how things are going at the end of a school year and you will probably hear about fatigue. Teaching is very hard work, made more difficult by those who believe that because they once went to school, they know how to teach. They have no idea of the burden.
Don’t get me wrong. Most who teach do so because they can imagine nothing more fulfilling. But these past few years of teaching have become more difficult. While much is written about the academic loss due to COVID, not as many have written or discussed the developmental loss for children.
We have seen the growing difficulties placed on those who choose to officiate at athletic events for youth. For more and more, it has become such a burden they are no longer wishing to fulfill the much needed role of officiating.
There has been increasing awareness of mental health difficulties among students. More and more parents are seeking to remove any and all difficulties from the lives of their children, by solving problems for their children, and not letting them figure things out on their own. (Snowplow or Lawn Mower parents.)
It can even be the case that those who are trying to invite others into a relationship with Jesus talk and act in a way that is seen not as inviting one into a relationship with Jesus and the Church, but is rather mean and small. There is little or no attempt to learn about a person’s situation or circumstances in life, and more desire to banish those who disagree (almost everyone else in the world) to the side with insults and ill will.
We see examples of this in today’s first reading. In deciding the question of whether Jewish dietary laws applied to Gentile converts, there were those who insisted upon the letter of the law while at the same time excusing themselves to following it. But rather than place undue burdens concerning a pretty important identity marker for the Jewish people, they seek to provide the wise counsel offered by the Holy Spirit.
How do you present a relationship with Jesus? Does it come across as a burden? Or is it something so marvelous there can be nothing better?
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