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Matthew 11:25-30

Origen writes that Jesus glorifies the Father, who has seen the trajectory of the Word, first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. He gives thanks to the Father for his mission in becoming incarnate in the form of a servant, and speaks of the Father’s pleasure in hiding the mystery about himself from israel, which ought to be wise, and revealing it to the Gentile, who until now have been as children without understanding.

St Cyril points out that those ‘perverted in mind’ (the Arians) say that because he is giving thanks to the Father, he is less than the Father, to which the Saint responds: ‘what prevents the consubstantial Son from accepting and praising his own Father, who through him saves what is under heaven? If you believe because of this confession that he is in a lesser position than the Father, look at what comes next. Jesus acknowledges and calls his father Lord of heaven and earth, and at the same time calls him Father. But the Son of God who is ruler of all is in every way with him the Lord and Master of all, not as one worse, or differing in substance, but as God from God. He is crowned with equal renown, having substantially with him equality in everything.’

Theodore of Heraclea tells us that Jesus calls the Jews wise because they were the people God chose. The Scribes and Pharisees are wise in appearance, but they know the letter and not the spirit of the Law. The Apostles, unskilled in the use of words receive true wisdom. The Grace of God, manifest in Christ Jesus, was thus made known to simple men. He reveals to us how we can seek the blessings of paradise. We are not told why it pleased God to do this, but we accept it with faith. Nothing that is of God is without justice and reason, though our human sight may not see these things. God did not create you to examine or judge him, he created you to worship him; we should be good and faithful servants of the Master.

St Jerome reminds us that Jesus says that all things have been entrusted to him; all people here on earth are given to Christ. As St Hilary points out, we see in Jesus’ words that he and the Father are one; they exist in knowledge of each other. If we see the Son, St Cyril writes, then we see the image of the Father. Jesus is the Son and knows the Father, as the Father knows him, and as they know, and are known by, the Spirit.

St Augustine tells us that we learn from Jesus to be lowly of heart, not to be prideful or boastful, but if we wish to ascend high, to begin with lowliness. Only by building on the firmest foundation can any edifice stand. We should, St Cyril writes, stand aside from the inclination to love sin and the things of the flesh. We should draw near to him to be partakers of the Holy Spirit and sharers of the Divine Nature. The Jews did not have the strength to bear the yoke of the law; they could not acknowledge that Jesus had set them free from bondage under the law. But why, if the way is narrow, is the burden light? It is narrow to the careless, for to those who love him, the burden is light.

Theodore of Mopsuestia tells us that in Jesus we see great patience, endurance and kindness. Thought our sins are many and burdensome, he is long-suffering and patient; he does not despise us, but waits for us to repent, and when we do, he forgives us, blotting out our former offences. The law of Moses is not like this, it knows no repentance, promises no remission and offers nothing but judgment. The yoke of Jesus is easy because it offers us his forgiveness, and the burden is light because his law is not a collection of customs and observances set in stone, but rather the decisions of the soul inspired by the Spirit. We do not bear Grace, Grace bears us. It is not for us to help grace, it has been given to us to help us.