Jesus says: “Come to me – and I will give you rest – my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Have you ever owned a woolen turtle-neck sweater? And, you’re wearing it for the first time? And discover that when you turn your head it scratches your neck? Wear it too long and you may develop itchy red welts. There’s nothing you can do… The day is just beginning, you have an important meeting and you don’t have a change of clothes with you. But you soon realize if you sit perfectly still you get some relief. For you see, it’s only when we wrestle with a “yoke” that it chaffs your necks.
Or, have you ever tried to run a three-legged race strapped to someone whose pace and rhythm just does not match yours? Until you do match strides you wind up rolling on the ground and struggling more than once to get up.
And, what about that Angelus bell. Until you give up total control and let the bell help you establish the rhythm … well, you know what happens. At least, over here (in new house) the chain does not come tumbling down in a heap at your feet.
Too often our first impulse is to complain about all we don’t have – the burden of ungratefulness will only weigh heavy on the heart. How quickly it lifts when we consider all that we DO have at hand that will serve our purpose.
When I focus on what irks me about situations or people and forget all the gifts that flow into my life – the chaffing of the rope to the gunny sack loaded on my back will choke me.
Sometimes we struggle with the devil and temptation. Maybe more than not, it is a struggle with God that’s taking place within. When we ease up and take God’s view, the tussle eases.
When you’re new in a group, office staff or in a community and you discover they’re not as perfect as you had imagined … they crumble from their pedestals. When we give up the battle to make them into our own image, and look for the pleasantries and similarities to be found, the burden of integration becomes lighter.
Now in COVID time, what are the dilemma’s – the “yokes” that may bind us? You could slip into magical thinking in La-La Land – Convince ourselves it’s all a hoax? Throw caution to the wind? Act like it’s everyone else’s responsibility to keep me safe from harm’s way – the rules are for those “others,” not me. Listen to every source of information I can muster and be scared to breathe? Or, strike a balance of precautions and trust that I can live with – that to the best of my ability keeps me safe and protects others especially those closest to me. Remember, the yoke “chaffs” until we give up the control we don’t really have anyway.
Jesus saw examples of this everywhere he went. We marvel at Jesus’ powers of observation! How many times must he have gazed out on a field watching a pair of yoked oxen dragging along a heavy cart or trudging to keep pace with a farmer sowing the next crop. He saw the tussle and the back and forth between the pair, only hurting themselves with the push and pull of the yoke until a smooth rhythm was set.
Remember: Jesus said: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
”Learn from me – “I am meek and humble of heart.” As my love for God and my acceptance of the realities of life deepen, we join Jesus in giving “thanks and praise to God the Father” for being so free with the graces given to us; for revealing the divine presence to us.
It behooves us to listen attentively to His words. To hear His invitation, ‘Come to me’ is always an open invitation, especially at times like now, when we and our country really need the peace, rest, protection of God’s love. We ask Jesus to come into our hearts and fill our lives with gifts that only God can give us.