The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah. These verses are chosen for this Sunday because they describe a meek –not easily provoked- and humble Messiah, which Jesus is. Zechariah preached about the great battle that would take place between the forces of God and forces of evil. Rather than the machine of war (chariots and horses), this king of peace will come riding on a donkey, a sign of the reign of peace. This king of peace will reunite the northern kingdom, Israel and the southern kingdom, Judah. The rule of this just king is to extend to all nations, including that of the gentiles.
The second reading is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. Paul continues his discussion on baptism. It is important to understand Paul’s use of the words flesh and spirit. The word of flesh means human nature that is self-centered rather than God-centered. Paul uses the term spirit, on the other hand, to mean human nature that is God-centered. Since God’s Spirit dwells in the heart of believers, they are changed to a new creation. They are empowered for love, service, and mission by the spirit.
The Gospel reading is from the Gospel of Matthew. This Gospel begins with Jesus’ shout of joy for the “little ones” with humble and open hearts who ‘get it.’ Jesus speaks about the special and unique relationship that exists between him and his Father. In Jesus we find the Wisdom of God. He reveals the mind and heart of God to us. The reading ends with Jesus’ beautiful invitation to the Jewish Christians to come to him, take up his yoke, and find rest with him. Their burdens are most likely the 613 rules taught by the Pharisees, who do not lift a finger to help people carry them out. In contrast, Jesus’ yoke, his teaching, are simple and straightforward, and he accompanies his disciples as they put them into practice.