Troy Baker, Principal of St Joseph’s Primary School, presents our Gospel Reflections for the rest of this week. On the solemnity of All Souls, the commemoration of all the faithful departed, Troy reads from the Gospel of Matthew (11: 25-30) in which Jesus tells his followers, ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’. Troy says as he reflected on this Gospel the key theme of the ‘Heart’, which is a primal concept in the Bible, came to mind. It does not refer to the bodily organ but to the origin and kernel of everything else in the human person, ‘the soul’ if you prefer. In that sense it need not connote love or affection because, indeed, in some people, when we know them profoundly or well, they show a heart coloured by despair, anger, or hatred. As Jesus reveals himself through the Gospels, we discover that the basic attitude of his heart is one of unconditional love, not hatred or ambivalence. The first and last message of this Gospel is that God loves this world and every person in it. He sent his son Jesus not as a judge but as a shepherd, with a large and compassionate heart. Saint Catherine of Siena says ‘Where we see sins, God sees weakness’. What she is pointing out to us is the reality that, for many people as we try to do our best to overcome our faults and failings, God sees the heart and sees our efforts to do good, even though these efforts do not always succeed. God’s Spirit, given with many gifts and energies for the world, also brings the gift of Divine forgiveness. It is in the last lines of today’s Gospel that many people find consolation, especially in those times when we are carrying heavy burdens, obviously on All Souls Day of loss and loss of loved ones, but also of failure, pain, guilt, depression, and as Pope Francis writes, of hopelessness, of a sense that things are getting out of hand and there’s not much we can do. We can all add to this list and name our own burdens that we carry. All of this can be part of our prayer and our relationship with God but only in honestly admitting our big needs can we find the rest of soul which we need – a soul at rest can share with many the peace of God. On All Souls Day it is a wonderful thing to remember the dead! It gives us a chance to recall the people dear to us who have gone to God, and to thank God for them and to pray with them and for them. The custom of the church today has been to pray for the dead; maybe we can, instead, include a prayer of thanks with each of these prayers. Troy says as he approaches the Scripture not only with his mind, trying to figure out what it is telling him, in this instance, the word of God has also spoken to his heart and it comes to life when he respects the revelations and insights that God gives to him in, sometimes, the simplest of ways.