Daily Reflection – 12/7/2022
Jesus said to the crowds: “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 yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”( Matthew 11:28-30)
We all love this passage of scripture. It is memorable. It conveys both hope and love.
Yet, many people don’t see the fruition of those words in their daily lives. Part of the that inability stems from not understanding the words.
It begins with the word “yoke.” The Jewish people used the imagery of the yoke to express their submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments and many more. Each expression conveyed a willingness to submit to to God. To allow God to be at the center of our lives and to direct our path.
Jesus said that his yoke was “easy”. The Greek word for “yoke” also means “well fitting.” Yokes were tailor made for to fit each oxen. We are invited to put on the “sweet yoke of Jesus” and to live a life of happiness and peace. We are asked to yoke our lives with Jesus, to unite our life with him.
Our humble Lord understands our burdens, our many needs, the difficulties of daily life, the needs of the poor and those who are suffering, especially now in this time of world-wide suffering. In this understanding, our Lord makes the profound promise to all who come to him: “you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus does not say that if we go to him that we will have no more troubles, no more pain, no more disappointments. There will be “yokes” to carry but he will carry them with us. What Jesus does is to help us go through the pain. A life without any pain, without any failure or disappointment, a life without difficulty or challenge is no life. The challenges of life sometimes help us to grow and mature. But they are easier to bear when he carries them with us, when we know that we are never alone in our difficulties and sorrows. And, because of our own pains, we are in a much better position to help others carry their yokes of sorrow or pain or sickness.
Jesus reaffirms what Isaiah says, that we have a caring and tireless God who takes looks after his own. “I am gentle and lowly of heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
So, if you are weary, for whatever reason, however complex, Jesus invites you to come. Come, take his light yoke of believing in him. And if it’s hard, don’t come alone. Come to Jesus with and through a believing friend. Believe, abide, and follow Jesus’s example. And you will find rest for your soul.
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.”
These words mean “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 hurt at first, as does every yoke, this one brings the lightness of peace and the ease of joy.