A special thank you this week to our friends St. Mary of the Woods Parish, Chicago in the congregation.

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There’s this 95 year old man walking in the woods, and he sees on the ground a frog. The frog says, “Pick me up, kiss me, I’ll be turned into a beautiful princess.” The old man picks up the frog, sticks it in his pocket. The frog says, “I said if you picked me up and kissed me I’ll be turned into a beautiful princess.” The 95 year old man says, “At my age, I’d prefer a talking frog.”

The elderly man freely chose to pass up this opportunity, this gift. In today’s Gospel a much more profound gift is offered, for Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary, and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest.” There is no one at some point in their life who hasn’t found life burdensome, weary, and difficult. At times, we even sometimes feel like throwing in the towel. Jesus says, “Your souls will find rest, for my yolk is easy, and my burden light.”

Many times, we become our own worst enemy. A very high powered, take charge corporate executive was checking into the hospital, and always used to having his own way, he barked orders left and right to everyone he saw. He was gruff, mean. He kept barking orders until he reached the desk of a very small, mild mannered volunteer. She typed the man’s name on a slip of paper, wrapped the paper around the man’s wrist before he could react. “What’s that for?” Mr. Big Mouth demanded to know. The woman quietly replied, “That’s so we won’t give you to the wrong mother when you’re ready to leave the hospital, you big baby.”

You know, in life suffering is not an option, but misery and bitterness remain choices. What is our attitude? Our life story’s unfinished. It’s still incomplete. The chapters of our life story are still being written, though we may be elderly, but we have a choice. We can choose to go through life alone, feeling anger and bitterness, keeping our fingers crossed hoping for the best, or we can trust our lives over to the Lord, drawing strength from the Lord. A life rooted in Jesus will not be a rose garden, for the Lord is with us to be our peace and our strength. As we grow older, is life making me bitter or better? The choice is ours.