July 5th, Sunday
During the time of Jesus, it was a common practice to put a yoke to an animal; usually, a mule or a camel harnessed to do the work in transporting agricultural products to different villages. As you can imagine, it was a heavy burden for a creature to pull massive piles of load from one place to another.
Jesus uses the image of a yoke to resonate with the people’s experiences and hardships burdened by the Pharisees. They imposed laws or misinterpreted laws that made it even harder for the people to follow. The “yoke of the Pharisees” is the burdensome yoke of self-righteousness and legalistic law-keeping.
We may be able to relate to the hardship of carrying a heavy yoke on our shoulders as we collectively suffer from the effects of the pandemic. Right now, we’re living in the in-betweens when everything hangs in the balance. Many people have lost a loved one from the virus. Millions have been furloughed from their jobs. Thousands of businesses have been closed.
We remain uncertain of the future as experts continue to sketch a gloomy picture in combating the virus. The situation may be overwhelming. All of us may feel vulnerable.
Pope Francis has mentioned that when things go wrong, we have the tendency to stay where we are, locked up inside ourselves. We see everything around us as gloomy and grim. Then we even grow accustomed to sadness, which becomes like home. Then sadness accompanied by fear overwhelms us. It replicates to produce other negative emotions and actions until we lose hope to see a new tomorrow.
When many things around us look dark, to whom shall we go?
Jesus tells us, “Come to me.”
Meek and humble are the main characteristics of the yoke of Jesus. Simplicity is the way of God. This does not mean laxity in practicing our faith, but mastery of the ways of the Lord. They do not require the kind of rat-race system as we try to cope with some perceived demands of life.
Jesus says, “learn from me, and you will find rest for your souls.” Wisdom is also to be found in Jesus. If we discover God’s wisdom, we will have the capacity to assess our approach to life in the face of our struggles. We will be able to find out that the essential things in life are light compared with the ways of the world. We’ll surely find rest when we possess the wisdom from God.
Related Article: Wisdom is Supreme; The First Thing To Do is to Acquire Wisdom
The Lord does not promise that our problems will suddenly disappear when we come to Him. What He says is His burden is light. We will still carry a yoke, but the load is obviously easier to bear. In giving us rest, Jesus eases the distress and fears from our hearts and helps us carry our crosses of pain and suffering.
When seeking rest from the heavy burdens that wear our body and our spirit, we truly find comfort in the Lord, for His yoke is easy and His burden light!
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