The Yoke of His Mercy

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Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

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.”

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to you with my weariness and disillusions caused by placing trust in things that are not essential and distancing myself from you who matter most in my life. Grant relief and consolation for my soul to place my trust in you and my energy at the service of doing good.

Encountering Christ:

  1. Come to Me with Your Burdens: Jesus speaks with unique tenderness in this Gospel. He has come to heal, set captives free, and lift up those who are ailing. He calls people with many needs who are weary of life and burdened with hardships and difficulties. We hopelessly rely on our own means and are slow to put our trust in God. He invites us to follow him from where we are. To follow him along the journey of continual conversation as his disciple, we must first allow ourselves to experience his mercy. The Lord’s mercy is immense and inexhaustible! At Jesus’s invitation we find a response for our aching hearts: a life’s purpose as his disciple and a promise of finding rest in this life and the next.
  2. Learn from Me: Jesus is not suggesting that we live free from any yoke. Rather, Jesus places upon us his yoke. Jesus’s yoke is to fulfill the New Law, to love each other as he loves us. He wants to teach us that we will discover God’s will through him. Thus, receiving “Jesus’s yoke,” each of us enters into communion with him and makes sense of our sufferings by uniting them in the mystery of his Cross and in his work of salvation. It becomes lighter and easier to accept and take up what God has entrusted to us to carry if we do it with Jesus. We learn from Jesus, who made himself little and humble: “…he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
  3. I Will Give You Rest: Throughout the Gospels, we see that Jesus is patient with human limitations and complaints. Jesus understands each of us better than we understand ourselves. He wants us to share with him our burdens, one by one, aware of our need to find rest, peace, and consolation. As he did with his first band of followers, he invites us to come apart to a quiet place and to rest a while. This “rest” of being known, understood, accepted, and accompanied banishes weariness and renews our energy. He shoulders it all with us. Jesus wants us to invite him to help with whatever we are carrying.

Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me not be afraid of carrying the cross and enduring any weariness or burden united with you. Let me not be scandalized or frustrated in accepting my sinfulness and limitations. Teach me to be more understanding, patient, and merciful with others who suffer and are overwhelmed. Show me how you want me to be an instrument of mercy by offering rest and help for others. Keep my eyes fixed on you, learning how to be merciful and forgiving.

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will be a courageous instrument of mercy to reach out to someone I know who needs a shoulder, offering to help them carry their cross before I have to be asked. 

For Further Reflection: Delve deeper with an essay by Josef Pieper’s Leisure: The Basis of Culture on the importance of rest and leisure for the development of religion. 

Written by Lucy Honner, CRC.

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