Thursday, July 16 ~ Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial, Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Holy Gospel: Matthew 11:28-30 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 yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Meditation: What is this “yoke” which Jesus refer to in the gospel? The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom, the yoke of God. Jesus says his yoke is “easy”. The Greek word for “easy” can also mean “well-fitting”. Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well. We are commanded to put on the “sweet yoke of Jesus” and to live the “heavenly way of life and happiness”. Jesus also says his “burden is light”. There’s a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. “That’s a heavy load you are carrying there,” exclaimed the man. “He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother!” responded the boy. No burden is too heavy when it’s given in love and carried in love.
Prayer: May the venerable intercession of the glorious Virgin Mary come to our aid, we pray, O Lord, so that, fortified by her protection, we may reach the mountain which is Christ. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: By embracing the way and the truth and the life of Christ, Jesus offers us the kingdom of righteousness, peace, happiness and joy. This is not a political kingdom, but a spiritual one. The yoke of Christ’s kingdom, his kingly rule and way of life, liberates us from the chains of sin, the burden of guilt and from the oppression of sin and hurtful desires. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation the priest – acting in the person of Christ – lifts the burden of sin and the weight of hopelessness from us. Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a weight of glory and victory from sin. The yoke which Jesus invites us to embrace is his way of grace and freedom from the power and the weight of sin. Do you want to begin with a fresh start in life – a life of Christ? Get to confession, you’re your sins absolved by the priest, then start anew by trusting in God’s love and by submitting to his will and his plan for your life.