Christ’s Yoke of Love

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

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

What burden could be too heavy,
When we are called to serve the Lord?
Our Lord makes the job seem easy
If with His will we’re in accord.

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 meek and humble of 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 passage may appear to be brief, but it is rich with the comforting words of compassion and wisdom that can only come from a divine Person Who sincerely desires our love and our well-being.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Who can resist such an invitation? He is the all-knowing God Who became mortal in order to identify Himself with us, so that He too could feel our pains, sadness, and hardships. Jesus knows our frailties and tendency to fall into sin, the very reason why He invites us to come to Him, so that we may be purified and strengthened in our struggle against trials and temptations. Once or twice a year, our Church encourages us to go on a week-end retreat or at least a one-day recollection, where we can find rest for our weary souls. Don’t we all feel that lightness of spirit after these spiritual encounters with the Lord? “My soul finds rest in God alone,” goes the song. We can always experience God’s daily dose of rest in prayers and meditation.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” Jesus was telling the Jews to free themselves from the oppression of traditional Jewish customs, and instead take upon themselves the New Covenant of His love and the Good News of salvation. But His words are also telling us that we must be willing to take the yoke of service before we can begin to understand His words of wisdom. When we are sent out to spread His Gospel message, “You will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt.10:19b-20).

“I am meek and humble of heart…” Meekness is often regarded by the strong to be a form of weakness. But as we can see in the life of Jesus, He lived the humble life of a carpenter’s son, and never shunned the company of the poor and the sick; but He was anything but weak or indecisive. He castigated the religious authorities to their faces, singlehandedly drove the traders and moneychangers out of the temple area, and boldly submitted to torture and death to accomplish his earthly mission. He was meek and humble in order to attract and welcome all kinds of people to Himself, and at the same time to show us the example of a lifestyle pleasing to the Father.

“…you will find rest for your souls.” This is the paradox of being a true follower of Christ. Living the true Christian life was never meant to be easy. As St. Paul wrote, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God” (1Cor.1:18). In Christian service, what is burdensome to the body is rest for the soul. Conversely, what is pleasurable (sinful) to the body is intolerable to the soul. Sin is such a heavy burden because it carries with it other loads like anxiety, guilt, fear and doubt. These are the side effects of being separated from God. Only by being reconciled to Him through repentance and a clear conscience can one find peace of mind and rest for his soul. And as we serve Him in His community and in His Church, our life will also be filled with joy. That is when we will realize that in serving Him, His “yoke is easy and (His) burden light.”

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 Your love that makes our workload light. Amen.

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