Thursday July 16, 2020
Readings: Isaiah 26: 7 – 9, 12: 16 – 19; Responsorial Psalm: 102; Gospel: Matthew: 11: 28 – 30
This simple invitation goes straight to the heart. Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart. Here he invites us to learn from him: he describes himself as gentle and humble. Were these the two qualities he liked most about himself, where he wants us to be most like him?
A yoke is always carried by two oxen. The reason Christ’s yoke is easy for us to carry is because he is carrying it with us, and taking most of the weight. Jesus clearly declared that he had come to heal and lift up those who were ailing. In the past people had foreseen only a regime of punishment for waywardness.
This ‘rest’ – a sense of having been accepted, banishes weariness and renews our energy. No surprise here – the Saviour Lord himself happens to be the energy-centre of the universe, the creator – the one who drills the stars. The Pharisees had carried things further – setting up a whole system of laws and prohibitions. They had imposed a load (‘yoke’) on the people, said Jesus, and wouldn’t lift a finger to ease the load.
The people, labouring under this kind of burden, longed for relief – and Jesus offers them rest : he is the one who has come to serve (‘humble in heart’), and is full of understanding (‘gentle’).
Here we have a picture of what the relationship is like in the intimate family of Jesus and his adopted brothers and sisters : all of us are being raised up to be the best persons we can be.
Be with Jesus for some time as He invites you to rest with these two sides of yourself which He wants you to live happily with. In doing this Jesus promises that you will find “rest for your soul”.
Jesus invites us to come to Him just as we are. He recognises the busyness of our lives, how we labour and are overburdened and draws us into his loving and gentle presence. He wants to listen to all of our troubles, and assures us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. When we spend time with Jesus we find rest for our souls. He speaks to us in the silence of our hearts and gives us inner peace.
We can speak with Jesus as we would with any friend, sharing our joys, our struggles, our hopes, and our fears. He never grows tired of listening to us and constantly renews us with the gift of his love.
Sometimes we carry heavy burdens because we want to figure things out on our own, thinking there is no one to help us. Let us pray that people who are weighed down may hear the voice of Jesus.
Lord, these lovely words are sometimes linked to a picture of you in pastel shades, in a montage of roses and golden light. But it takes strength and courage to remain gentle in face of false accusations and scheming enemies. It is you who are the strong one, not the screamers and war-mongers.
Do I have anything weighing on me now? Jesus promises to help, and I believe him.
God Bless. Have a wonderful day.