Year A: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Matthew 11: 25-30
The words from today’s Gospel have found their way onto prayer cards and can be found in thousands of Missals, prayer-books, handbags and pockets.
There are times in everyone’s life when the invitation “Come to Me all you who labour” sounds like music to our souls.
There are times when we are overburdened and weary - when we are confused - when life seems to overwhelm us. Other people seem to be so much better at coping than we do - and we wonder, sometimes, what their secret is.
The promise of rest in Jesus seems very sweet.
A slight complication is His addition: “take My yoke upon you...” How is this giving rest for people’s souls?
Elsewhere in the Gospel, Jesus berates the Pharisees for laying burdens on people’s backs and not lifting a finger to help them to carry them. Is He not doing the same here?
Perhaps - but He promises that His yoke is easy - and the burden light. Jesus does not weigh His disciples down with teaching that they cannot follow. Yes, it is tough sometimes, but it is always founded on love. Jesus invites His disciples to shoulder His yoke and learn from Him - gentle and humble in heart.
Here, He may be referring to the practice of yoking a young and inexperienced animal alongside one who is well-trained. The more experienced creature trains the other almost by example - gradually, it learns how to work until the day when it can manage alone.
Perhaps too, an older one approaching the end of its working life may be yoked to the one in its prime - so that it can still work but the strain is taken by the partner.
So with us too, perhaps - Jesus invites us to take His yoke so that He can teach us - not by laying burdens upon us - but walking alongside us and helping us to learn to do things His way... and promising too that He will never leave us overburdened.
When it all gets too much - or we lose our way - He will be there alongside us again - a gentle, humble but infinitely strong and wise Leader
What does it mean for me?
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