The Light Load of Love

Matthew 11: 28-30
Isa 40: 25-31 / Ps 103: 1-4, 8 and 10

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28)

A job always turns out better
When not done for profit alone;
Life’s burdens will become lighter
When we help others with their own.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel of Matthew, Jesus invites the Jews to free themselves from the oppression of traditional (man-made) Jewish customs, and instead take upon themselves the New Covenant of His love and the Good News of salvation.

For us today, the burdens of life come in many forms. There is the burden of sorrow or loneliness for the loss or abandonment of a loved one. Another kind which our Lord was most likely referring to is the burden of sin, which includes unforgiveness or unrepentance. Then there is the third kind, which is the yoke of service or responsibility in leadership.

The loss of a loved one, whether caused by death or a broken relationship can be so hard to bear for most people. By nature, man is a social creature who thrives on intimate relations like love and friendship, to the point that we become dependent on the one(s) we love. When the object of our love dies or abandons us, grief or sorrow can weigh us down that life becomes unbearable or seemingly without purpose. This is the time when we need to heed the invitation of our Lord Jesus, in Whom “you will find rest for your souls.” His Spirit brings comfort and solace to the bereaved if only he/she opens his/her heart to His call.

The burden of sin is so heavy because it carries with it other loads like anxiety, guilt, fear and doubt. These are the side effects of being separated from God. The attraction of sin is the pleasure of the flesh. But in exchange for that, we lose the peace and joy of the Spirit. Jesus knows our human weakness, how vulnerable we are to the tactics of the devil. That is why He says, “Come to me.” Do not fall into the greater sin of pride, where the sinner refuses to face up to his sin, and even tries to justify his action or motive. The only antidote for this baggage is the attitude of humility, like the character of our Lord, Who seems to be saying, “Be like Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.” God allows the fortunes of proud men to fall, so that their last option would be to turn to God for help in humble supplication.

Finally, most people refuse to take on the yoke of leadership because it is an additional burden to their already loaded schedules. It is a rare breed of individuals who happily take on the responsibilities of servanthood unfazed by the challenge, time, effort and resources that they entail. The primary reason they accept the position is because it is for the Lord, and they do it for love. These are the people who are happiest in our brotherhood.

How can we, ordinary Christians, also avail of this wonderful opportunity of setting ourselves free from the oppressive loads of day to day living, and share in what our Lord Jesus is telling us? It is simply this: by carrying the burdens of others, the Lord will carry our own. If we give more concern to the troubles and difficulties of other people, then our own problems and personal cares will become much lighter loads to carry.

They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagle’s wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. (Isaiah 40:31) We thank You, Father God, for making us strong for the work ahead. Amen.

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