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Yoked to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Weekly Message for 06-21-2022
In this reflection, I want to call to mind the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our Baptism, and a pair of oxen. You might be wondering what on earth do oxen, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Baptism have to do with each other? Let me explain.
A few weeks ago I was asked to give a reflection on the sacrament of Baptism using a passage from the Gospel of Matthew: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mt 11:29-30). Consider for a moment the image of a pair of oxen yoked together. Most of us have heard it said this practice is to distribute the load’s weight between the oxen, sharing the burden between them. But as I prayed through this passage, the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus came to mind.
Now, I invite you to draw to mind your favorite image of Jesus. Envision his gaze smiling upon you. See his heart bursting with love for you and his hand outstretched in a gesture of blessing upon your head. No judgment, no condemnation, complete transparency. He is who is, was, and always will be, loving you just as you are today, at this moment, because you are his.
The passage from the Prophet Isaiah says it beautifully.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Is 43:1-3)
We have indeed passed through the waters. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit through our Baptism and our Confirmation. It’s through Baptism that we are yoked to the heart of Jesus. The catechism says Baptism brings us into communion with the Trinity and into communion with each other. We are sealed with an indelible mark. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation (CCC 1272).
This means we are yoked to Jesus forever. We can ignore him. We can refuse to look to our left or right and acknowledge his presence. We can continue to attempt to pull our lives’ burdens without him, and he will let us because he respects our free will so much, or we can open our hearts and minds and share with Jesus all that burdens us.
We were not created to carry our burdens alone. We were made for communion. Communion with the Trinity and communion with each other. We are his children, there is absolutely nothing he does not know about us. His desire is that we tell him everything, not for his sake, but for ours.
This Friday, as the Church celebrates the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, remember that by your Baptism you are bound heart to heart with Jesus. He desires to journey with you through life for his yoke is easy, his burden is light, and you will find rest for your souls.
Yours in the Heart of Jesus,