Daily Reflection – 7/18/19
Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are 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 selves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
What a beautiful invitation from Jesus! This passage is worth reading over and over and memorizing so that it can easily be reflected upon during those more difficult moments in life. We all have those moments. The moments when we feel overwhelmed and burdened. It could be we are burdened by some tragedy in life, or it could be we are burdened by the small and monotonous aspects of life. One of the greatest daily burdens is that of our own sin. But whatever the case may be, Jesus wants us to hear and believe these words. “Come to me…” He says. Come to me no matter what is going on in your life. Come to me without hesitation and without fear.
Jesus also promises us that His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light.” What does that mean? Does it mean that coming to Jesus will remove all hardship from our lives? No, not really. What it means is that coming to Jesus will enable us to endure and walk through any hardship we encounter in life.
And what is happening here is a yoke-exchange. In the cross, Jesus takes our inconceivably and unbearably heavy yoke of sin’s condemnation and penalty, and offers us in exchange the easy yoke and light burden of simply trusting him. He does all the work and brings us rest!
“Rest,” not in the sense of cessation from work and struggle, but in the sense of peace of soul, joy and profound happiness. This is the rest that we all long for, the rest that will one day be uninterrupted in the bliss of heaven. We have each met individuals who experience this peace and joy despite their circumstances. Notice that Jesus does not promise to take away the burdens, the trials, the sufferings. But if we take his yoke upon ourselves, if we submit to his plan, his will, his love, he guarantees the joy. If you have never experienced it, then begin today; give him what you know in your heart he is asking of you. Although it may seem uncomfortable at first, as does every yoke, this one brings the lightness of peace and the ease of joy.
Reflect, today, upon this gentle and glorious invitation from Jesus. Let Him enter into whatever it is that burdens you. Let Him carry the yoke that you carry and give you, instead, the gentle yoke He has prepared for you. The cross you bear may not go away, but it will be transformed and made light in His grace.
Prayer of The Day
Blessed Lord, you lead me towards everlasting peace if I will simply follow, but following does not always seem simple. Give me the very things you ask of me: faith, generosity, courage, trust, love. With these gifts and your grace, I will have the strength necessary for the journey.
Today we need to claim this promise in our lives – this promise that He himself will give us rest. This promise is to everyone weighed down by the grind of life. Every moment, wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we need to turn to the Lord and offer to Him the tiredness of the body, mind and soul. And in the evening when we come home, before we go to bed, we must present ourselves to the Lord again. It is not the bed but the arms of the Lord that gives us rest. A person who came for retreat described the big difference in the rest that the Lord gave. He said, “I was always a tensed person. I used to be bothered about many things and my mind never could be still. I could never get good sleep. I would wake up every now and then all through the night. But when I came here for the retreat, I offered my life in the hands of my God. I know my God is in control and that He will turn everything to my good. I began to sleep peacefully in the arms of my Father God.”
This indeed is the finding of every great human search. Not just are we made for rest but that our rest is in God. As St. Augustine prayed, “Our hearts were made for you God. And they shall never find rest until they find their rest in you.”