The Gospel according to 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.
Although Ana and I still experience annoyances, have disagreements, and sometimes argue I can remember times when I would get so mad and feel so self-righteous, I dig my feet in the ground. I would not budge from my position, allow my feelings to boil, and would not consider giving an inch toward her position. I can spend days with this attitude of superiority only to feel the weight of my sinful behavior push me into the ground and far away from Ana. Once I come to my senses and have a change of heart, I turn toward Jesus. This prompts a decision to honor my marriage vows and enkindles a desire to reconcile with Ana and God. The heavy yoke of selfishness is replaced with compassion which leads to mercy and the light yoke of Jesus Christ.
There have been times when we have these disagreements, when I fear that I have gone too far, and Paul won’t be able to forgive me. It is at those times when I turn to my faith and pray that God intercede and help me to ask for forgiveness. I realize how petty we are being over something which may have been so minor and pray that God helps us get past this hurdle. I think of our friends who are now divorced and of the friend who spoke to me of annulment just today. I think of all the funerals Paul has officiated where the surviving spouse is so heartbroken. It is my love for Paul and my faith that Jesus Christ will lighten this weight helping us to heal.
In today’s gospel Jesus is addressing the burdens that the religious and self-righteous expected people to follow in order to be worthy of God. Jesus recognized that the heaviness of these demands made it next to impossible for anyone to feel good about themselves and have a relationship with the Father. In addition, the attitude associated with these demands pushed people even farther away from what Jesus was trying so hard to re-establish, family. In marriage, friendships, and relationships we all struggle with expectations and the anxiety of being isolated or separated from those we love. This burden can be so heavy it crushes our ability and desire to keep trying. If we follow the example, teachings, and humility of Jesus we can ease that burden and replace it with the love of Christ. This will enable us to stand tall and firm in our conviction to receive and share the love, compassion, and mercy of the word made flesh.
Action of the Day:
Pray for God to reveal an area where your demands or expectations may be making someone’s yoke heavy. Maybe there is something in your llife that has become a significant burden. Take this to the one who says, “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”. Let that encounter ease what troubles you and go and do likewise.