The Burdens in Life

Matthew 11: 28-30
Exo 3:13-20 / Psa 105

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
(Matthew 11:29)

God gives us burdens to carry
That we may grow sturdy and strong;
Trials should not make us worry,
They keep us from ways that are wrong.

“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 meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Matt.11:28-30)

Reflection

In today’s first reading, we learn about the burden that Yahweh God commissioned Moses to carry in Egypt, which he at first tried to wriggle out of the assignment. For hundreds of years the Israelite nation had been suffering under the yoke of Egypt, and now God had commanded Moses to negotiate with the Pharaoh of Egypt the release of His Chosen People. Moses knew his limitations as a leader. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Ex 3:11-12). Most people refuse to take on the yoke of leadership either because they lack confidence in their capabilities or they regard it as an additional burden to their workload. It is a rare breed of individuals who happily take on the responsibilities in our community, unfazed by the challenge of time, effort and resources that they entail. The only reason they accept the position is because it is for the Lord, and they do it for love. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). These are the people who are happiest in the organization, knowing that their toils will reap great rewards.

There are other forms of burden that people carry in their lives. One is the suffering and/or ailment of a loved one. How does one carry on with his life when his beloved partner is struggling for dear life in a hospital’s intensive care unit? Not to mention the financial consideration that this problem entails. Another is the loss of a loved one, whether caused by death or a broken relationship. We are all dependent on one another’s love. When the object of our love dies or abandons us, grief or sorrow can weigh us down so heavily that life becomes unbearable or seemingly without purpose. But Scripture tells us that the man who perseveres under trial is blessed, because “when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (Jam 1:12) Likewise, the first pope of the Church advised: “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (1Pet.4:12-13) 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 we open our hearts to His call.

Finally, the most common burden that most people have to contend with is the yoke of sin, more so for the unrepentant. Although it may seem that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, but evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2Tim 3:12). Being separated from God makes the sinner prone to the greater sin of pride, the ultimate form of self-deception. 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.

In times of adversity, loving Father, we are consoled by the thought that You will never leave us on our own; You are always there to lighten our burden. Amen.

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