I Will Give You Rest

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Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said to the crowds: “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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord God, thank you for these meek and humble words. Help me to open my heart so that your gentle invitation can seep into my soul. I want the rest that you promise. “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul (Psalms 23).”
Encountering Christ:

  1. Come to Me: In this Gospel passage, Christ made it very clear that he himself ought to be our center of attention. Psalm 123 reminds us, “Like the eyes of a maid on the hand of her mistress, so our eyes are on the Lord our God.” And here it’s as if Christ says, “Come to me; I’m the one who will give you rest. Why do you look to football games and shopping and television to satisfy you? Neither do work or school, or even family or friends, fill the God-shaped hole in your heart. If you come to me, I will put you at peace.”
  2. Take My Yoke: Sometimes we do not want to accept Christ’s yoke, finding it too burdensome. But then we find we cannot plow; we cannot make any headway through the hard dirt of the field of our life. Sometimes we take up a different yoke–even one which is heavier or more irritating–because we think it is more efficient or more rational than Christ’s yoke. But then we find that this yoke is too cumbersome, that it wounds our shoulders, that it numbs our faith. This is the yoke of the world, and it is not good for us. Christ wants us to take up his yoke because then he can plow at our side, shouldering the brunt of the burden.
  3. Learn from Me: This is the third time Christ says “me” or “my”: Come to me, take my yoke, learn from me. Learning implies newness. It implies letting ourselves take a journey to new shores, to change position so that we see what we saw before, but from a new perspective. When Christ says, “learn from me,” he’s telling us, “I’m not some statue carved in stone. I live and breathe and act. Learn from how I live, how I am, how I love.” In order to learn from him, we have to come to him, to move toward new vistas, and take the concrete step of shouldering his yoke. Then we will have rest—his rest.

Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I turn my eyes to you! You are the one who never disappoints me. Indeed, you fascinate and attract me with your humility and friendliness. I feel drawn to you; do not let the evil one lead me away.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray Psalm 23 asking you to “restore my soul” (verse 3).
For Further Reflection: Frank Sheed’s book To Know Christ Jesus could be a great way to learn more about the one we celebrate at Christmas. The first seventy-five pages or so about the Christmas mystery are particularly insightful. 
Written by Deacon Erik Burckel, LC.

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