Rupert Mayer – Readings

Commentary on Isaiah 40:1-5; Psalm 22; Matthew 11:28-30

The Gospel reading is one we associate with Jesus in his Sacred Heart. But it also expresses the spirit of Rupert Mayer. “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you.” These words express the compassion he expressed for people all through his life, first for the poor and homeless in the city of Munich and later in standing shoulder to shoulder with the ordinary soldier as they spent their days in the horrific conditions of the trenches in the First World War. No wonder he was so greatly loved.

Again, Jesus says: “Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart.” A lovely interpretation of this call is that Jesus is offering to carry his yoke together with ours – one yoke shared together (as happens when two oxen are yoked together).

The “yoke” of Jesus in the sense of sharing his cross and carrying our own is one that Rupert Mayer knew. No sacrifice was too great for him in bringing God’s love and service to those among whom he worked so selflessly. And those who knew him also recognised a person who was full of compassion and tenderness and yet, someone who did not hesitate to speak out strongly where there was evil and injustice.

The First Reading from the prophet Isaiah is the opening of that part of the book known as the “The Book of Consolation”. It is a passage, too, which we associate with John the Baptist and quoted in that context by Matthew (3:3). It consists of God’s promise of salvation to his people.

And so much of it fits the life and work of Rupert Mayer.

Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, proclaim to her that…her guilt is expiated.

These words reflect the compassion that Rupert showed to the poor and all those who suffered.

The words applied to John the Baptist also belong to Rupert: “A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” He was indeed the voice of God’s truth, love and justice in the “desert” and “wasteland” that was Nazi Germany.

And indeed in Rupert the glory of the Lord was revealed for, through him, “the mouth of the Lord has spoken”.

Rupert Mayer is an inspiration for every priest and religious but also for every committed Christian – a passion for truth and justice, a heart of love and compassion, total commitment to those in need.

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