Come To Me

This Sunday we heard one of my favorite gospel passages, a passage that flows from the tender heart of Jesus. As He looks at the masses that are overburdened and weary, the Master issues a summons: “Come to Me all you who are tired and I will give you rest.” How many times all of us have needed to hear that invitation! Especially during this pandemic that seems to drag on, we are sorely in need of refreshment. Jesus does not promise to take away our burdens. Instead He will give us strength to bear them.

Jesus wants us to come to Him with our burdens. What does he mean by that? He wants us to come to Him in prayer. In the Bible there is a tradition of prayer that is known as the prayer of lament. Holy men and women of the Bible poured out their anguish before God.  We will be shocked by the way these individuals talked to God. I like to call these prayers “lover’s quarrels.” Even though they complain, they never lose their faith in the Lord Who continues to be their refuge.

Let me give you just one example. Jeremiah was one of the greatest prophets and he had to give difficult and unwelcome messages to the people of Israel. The Israelites not only hated the message but also tried to get rid of the messenger. They stoned him and even threw him in a dry well. God gave the prophet an additional burden. He was asked to be unmarried and childless. When the prophet’s pain became unbearable, he turned to the Lord in prayer. There are five prayers of lament in Jeremiah. Called the “Confessions,” they allow us to peer into the very soul of the man in pain. In chapter 20 this is what the prophet says:

Cursed be the day on which I was born! The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, saying, "A child is born to you, a son," making him very glad. Let that man be like the cities that the LORD overthrew without pity; let him hear a cry in the morning and an alarm at noon, because he did not kill me in the womb; so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb forever great. Why did I come forth from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?

In this gospel passage Jesus is inviting us to pour forth our anguish in His presence. He is asking us to lay our burdens at His feet. How often have we tried to carry our burdens all on our own! What are the burdens that we carry?

First there is the burden of loss. One of the worst weeks of my life was the week after Christmas 17 years ago. A young woman had taken her life. The heart of the father was broken. I had no way to put his heart back together but I could invite him to take his burdens to the Lord.

Then there is the burden of sickness. Some years ago I was at the bedside of a 24-year-old woman who had been battling cancer for seven years. During that battle, she completed her college and started a grad program at Loyola. I had no words of comfort for the mom, but only an encouragement to pray.

Think of the burden of hunger and poverty. During this pandemic many people’s lives have been completely devastated. Many have stepped forward to help. Food pantries are overwhelmed. Even our own food pantry distributes food to over 200 families every month. Can we understand what it means to go to bed hungry, night after night? The poor have nowhere to turn except to the Lord.

Then there is the burden of broken relationships. I enjoy doing weddings because it is a time of joy and hope. No couple walking down the aisle doubts the permanence of their commitment. And yet I have personally witnessed the breakdown of relationships sometimes in spite of their good intentions.

Many of us have to bear the burden of loneliness. From the time I was a little boy, I wanted to love and be loved. I knew God was calling me to be a priest but I knew that I had to be alone. As a young seminarian, I felt the loneliness so deeply that I would retire into the church to pray. It was my prayer that sustained me. Even today, it is only in prayer that I can carry my burden of loneliness to the Lord.

There is a beautiful hymn that is often sung in other Christian churches entitled, “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” It was written by Joseph Medlicott Scriven who had more than his share of sorrow and disappointments. Here are the first two verses:


What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.


Have we trials and temptations?  Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.


He is beckoning to us: “Come to Me! Bring your burdens to Me!” Let us turn to Him in all our troubles. Let us take it to the Lord in prayer.

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

Liturgical Schedule


   Monday through Friday

   8:30 am - Upper Church


   4:30 pm - Upper Church


   7:30 am - Upper Church

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   10:30 am - Upper Church

   12:00 pm - Gym


   1st and 3rd Friday

   after 8:30 am Mass

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

Monday - Friday

8:30 am - Upper Church


4:30 pm (vigil) - Upper Church


7:30 am - Upper Church

9:00 am - Holy Family Chapel

9:30 am - Gym

10:30 am - Upper Church

12:00 pm - Gym