The Light Yoke of Jesus

Matthew 11: 28-30
Isa 40: 25-31 / Psa 103

For my yoke is easy and my burden light.
(Matthew 11:30)

Weighed down by the burden of sin,
His Word came like an invitation;
I now offer my life to Him,
Jesus, Who died for my salvation.

(Jesus said,) “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 light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel makes us reflect on the many forms of burden that people carry in their lives. One is the burden of sorrow or loneliness for the loss of a loved one. Another kind is the yoke of service or servanthood in leadership. But what Jesus was most likely referring to here is the burden of sin. And this includes the absence of repentance.

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.

Most people refuse to take on the yoke of service 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 in our community unfazed by the challenge, time, effort and resources that the service entails. And the only 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. Let us 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 by carrying the burdens of others that the Lord will carry our own. If we give more concern to the troubles and difficulties of other people, God will give us the strength to make our own problems and personal cares much lighter loads to carry.

Sin is the heaviest burden of all because it entails other loads like anxiety, depression, fear and doubt. These are the side effects of being separated from God. It also makes the sinner prone to the greater sin of pride. 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. This is probably the reason why 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.

Repentance is actually a simple matter of making a choice: to reject and confess our sins and go back to God. Jesus tells us how: First, He says, Come to Me. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The opposite direction is falsehood and death. Then He says, Take My yoke. This means, “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Mt.10:38). Third, we must learn from Him. We can only find rest in Jesus by learning the lessons that He teaches us in the Scriptures. We will find the wisdom of his words in the Bible; and when we come to believe the bliss of God’s kingdom that He has promised, then we will understand why our burdens, pains and sorrows are so light and easy in comparison.

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 challenges ahead. Amen.

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