The Yoke of God’s Love

Matthew 11: 28-30
Isa 26:7-9,12,16-19 / Ps 102

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.
(Matthew 11:29)

No burden is too heavy,
No task too hard to serve the Lord,
God makes the job seem easy
With His Kingdom as its reward.

“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

When God created man, He endowed him with the power of choice, the freedom to follow his own will. God only asked for man’s obedience, which was for his own good. When man fell from God’s grace because of his disobedience, God did not give up on him, nor did He impose His will on his decisions. Instead, He promised him redemption from sin, and gave him the necessary laws and decrees, and a vital covenant to follow to prepare him for his deliverance. Throughout the salvation history of man, from Adam to the prophets, God continued to invite man to come to Him and give up his selfish and idolatrous ways, blessing him when he was faithful, and punishing him when he chose to be wayward.

Jesus intones the same invitation: “Come to me,” knowing that we are tired of the problems in our life, more likely made heavy by our sinful disposition. He never forces or intimidates us to make our choice, but only promises to give us respite from our troubles if only we put our trust in Him. If only we turn from our temporal, worldly concerns, then we understand the words of Isaiah in the first reading: “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness… Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us” (Isa 26:9,12).

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. . .” We have to learn how to be obedient once again, and enter into the New Covenant that Jesus is offering for our salvation. But His laws are not hard to keep because they are laws of love. Jesus said, “If you keep my command-ments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in His love” (Jn.15:10). Nothing is too difficult or insurmountable when we do it out of love. We can take up our little crosses once we have learned how to love Him. And we must learn to take up our cross to follow Him. He said, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk.9:23).

This is God’s promise: “You will find rest for your souls.” This brings to mind the soothing words of Psalm 23: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul” (Psa 23:2-3). What causes our fears and anxieties? Isn’t it the restlessness of our soul? The restless soul is tormented by its sin. Psalm 32 says: “Happy the sinner whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven. Happy those to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is found no deceit” (Psa 32:1-2). Simply said, repentance is the key to find rest for our spirit. All we have to do is go to Jesus with a penitent heart.

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Most people think that trying to be a faithful follower of Christ entails a heavy responsibility, especially when one is tasked to shepherd others, to share God’s Word to strangers, or to perform acts of charity for the poor or the sick. But how come people like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Helen Keller, and countless heroes and heroines like them performed their extraordinary deeds with seeming joy and ease? It was mainly because God was always there to give them a helping hand. By His power they overcame all the odds; because of their love for humanity, God exalted them, and multiplied the fruits of their labor a hundredfold.

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, and giving us hope of eternal rest in Your kingdom. Amen.

Comments are closed.