Yoked to Christ’s Love

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

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me…
(Matthew 11:29)

Life’s burdens become lighter
When we help others with their own;
God’s children help each other,
In His flock, no one stands alone.

(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 lowly 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

For a long time, the Pharisees, religious leaders and teachers of the law (scribes) had burdened the Jews with their innumerable interpretations of the laws of Moses, which were impossible to learn. He rebuked them, saying, “Woe to you, scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourself do not lift one finger to help them” (Luke 11:46). In today’s Gospel reading, therefore, Jesus invites the Jews to free themselves from the oppression of their old Judaic traditions, and take upon themselves the New Covenant of His love and His Good News of salvation. His words would have been reminiscent of Scriptures: “…gain, at no cost, wisdom for yourselves; submit your neck to her yoke, that your mind may accept her teaching” (Sirach 51:25b-26a).

It is by submitting ourselves to the “yoke” of our Lord’s teachings in the Bible that we will grow in wisdom. Then we will learn that serving God in our community is not work, nor is it an obligation. It is freely given, and since love is the motivation, it is always easy and light. When our “yoke” involves the conversion of an unbeliever or the repentance of a sinner, the transformation becomes a priceless profit for our toils. Serving the Lord by winning a soul is such a source of joy and inspiration that one will always seek to do it all over again. This is what our Lord Jesus meant – that in His service there is no such thing as a heavy task or a difficult assignment. Love always makes the job easy and light.

The yoke of wisdom and discernment however, comes at a price. It involves the responsibility of “servant leadership”. It is a rare breed of individuals who happily take on the responsibilities of servanthood in our community unfazed by the time, effort, and resources they entail. The only reason they accept the challenge is because it is for the Lord, and they do it out of love for God and gratitude for His manifold blessings. These are the people who are happiest in our brotherhood.

How can we avail of this opportunity to set ourselves free from the overloads of day to day living, and share in what our Lord Jesus is telling us? It is simply this: if we help carry the burdens of others, the Lord will help us carry our own.

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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