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Do you have a heavy burden?

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How many of you are burdened with something?  Raise your hand if you have any burdens in your life.  All of us, right?  Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  That is all we have to do.  Come to Jesus if we have labors or burdens, and He will give us rest.  But how do we do that?  How do we come to Jesus?

There are three ways that I would briefly like to talk about it today.  The first way is in the Sacraments.  The second way is through Sacramentals. The third is actually through The Body of Christ.  How do you come to Jesus and give Him your burden?  Firstly, through the Sacraments.  Right now, in the Eucharist.  Right now, you have chosen to come to Jesus.  By being here at Mass today, you have come to Him.  In a very wonderful way, when the Offertory Gifts are brought up–when the bread and wine are brought forward– that is your opportunity.  Whatever burden you have, throw it in there.  Give it with the bread and wine and let it be carried up to Jesus.  When the gifts of bread and wine are brought forward, if you offer your burden, if you say, “Lord, I give my burden to You in that.”  You allow it to be carried up, and it will be handed to me.  I, as the priest, and a person of Christ, will offer your burden to the Father.  It is the most powerful way we can do that.  Whatever burden you have, I invite all of you to do that here at the Eucharist.  To offer your burden to Jesus.  To come to Him.  You have already come to Him here.  Now offer your burden.

The Sacrament of Confession is a wonderful way, if you find yourself heavily burdened with anything, especially a sin.  If it has been a long time since you have been to Confession, maybe it is time for you to come to the Sacrament.  Just give Him your burden.  It is another way to come to Him.  The first is in the Sacraments.  Ultimately, in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confession, we come to Him and we give Him our burdens.  Then we will find rest.

The second is if we are not always at church.  We are not always here on Sundays at Mass.  During the week, how do you come to Him?  How do you come to Jesus during the week?  The church is always open.  I think one of the most powerful ways that you can come to Him is He is there in the tabernacle.  The Body of Christ is there.  If you come to Jesus and pray before the Blessed Sacrament, He will take your burden.   I was talking to Father Jeremy about this because the other night I was burdened by something.  I went before the Tabernacle and actually knelt and laid down.  I just handed Him my burdens and I felt a tremendous sense of peace.  Father Jeremy said, “Yes, sometimes I just go up and hug the Tabernacle.  He goes up and wraps his arms around it and hugs it.  I thought that was pretty awesome.   He said, “Yes, it is the perfect height.  I just put my arms around it.”  Or when you are at home, too.  Jesus said, “Go to your inner room.”  Anytime during the day, by going to prayer, that is how we come to Jesus.  Just simply go before Him and maybe kneel down or lay down.  I love just laying my body down before a cross—before the crucifix—and I give it to God.  I give Him my burdens and I come to Him.   Or just simply open your arms, like this (demonstrates), and give Him your burdens.  That is the second way that we can come to Jesus.

The third way is through The Body of Christ.  Actually through the mystical Body of Christ.  Today, as all of us as are gathered together in The Body of Christ—you become Jesus—when you receive the Eucharist.  This is probably the most terrifying way to come to Jesus.  I invite you, if you are carrying a burden, after Mass today, talk to the person next to you and say, “Hey I have this burden.”  Or seek somebody out. The Body of Christ is a wonderful way to share your burden.  We are called to the Church and to one another.  We are called to be The Body of Christ.   When we share our burden, all of a sudden it becomes lighter.

I want you to think about that right now.  What is the burden that you are carrying?    First and foremost, let it be brought today at Mass in the Offertory.  Secondly, know that anytime throughout the day you can come to the church and hug the Blessed Sacraments.  Or pray before the crucifix in your room.  Or third, go to somebody in The Body of Christ and share your burden with them.  Jesus invites you, “Come to Me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  You have to take that first step.  He wants you to take the initiative and actually come to him.  You can do it through the Sacraments.  You can do it through prayer.  And you can do it with The Body of Christ.

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.