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My yoke is easy and my burden light

14th.Sunday in Ordinary Time. (Year A) (July 9, 2023). Zec 9:9-10; Rom 8:9, 11-13; Mt 11:25-30. “Come to me you who labor and are burdened…My yoke is easy and my burden light”.

Introduction: During the U. S. Independence Day celebrations on July fourth, most Americans probably heard all, or part of the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…. Send these, the homeless tempest-tossed to me.” Today’s readings, especially the Gospel, give the same message in a more powerful way: "Take my yoke . . . and you will find rest" (Matt. 11:29).

Scriptures: In the first reading, the prophet Zechariah consoles the Jews living in Palestine under Greek rule, promising them a “meek” Messianic King of peace riding on a donkey, who will give them rest and liberty. The Resp. Psalm (Ps 145) praises and thanks a kind and compassionate God Who “raises up those who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:14), under heavy burdens. In the Gospel, Jesus offers rest to those “who labor and are burdened” (Matt. 11:29), if they will accept His “easy yoke and light burden” (Matt. 11:30). By declaring that his “yoke is easy,” Jesus means that whatever God sends us is made to fit our needs and our abilities exactly. The second part of Jesus’ claim is: "My burden is light.” Jesus does not mean that the burden is easy to carry but that it is laid on us in love, that it is meant to be carried in love, and that love makes even the heaviest burden light.

Life message: We need to unload our burdens before the Lord. One of the effects of Worship for many of us is that it gives us a time for rest and refreshment, when we let the overheated radiators of our hectic lives cool down before the Lord. This is especially true when we unload the burdens of our sins and worries on the altar and offer them to God during the Holy Mass. Hence, he says: "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest" (11:28). This is because, unlike the burdens we bear, his yoke is easy and his burden light. The yoke of Jesus is the love of God. By telling us: "Take my yoke . . . and you will find rest" (11:29), Christ is asking us to do things the Christian way. When we center in God, when we follow God’s commandments, we have no heavy burdens. Our burden becomes light and easy when we remember that our burden is to love God, both directly, and by loving others, seeing God living in them.

Conclusion: There is nothing quite like coming to the Lord and setting aside our burdens for a while - nothing quite like having our batteries recharged, our radiators cooled down, and our spirits lifted. Jesus promises us rest from the burdens that we carry -- rest from the burdens of sins, legalism, and judgment, from the weight of anxiety and worry, from the yoke of unrewarding labor, and from the endless labor for that which cannot satisfy. The absolution and forgiveness, which, as repentant sinners, we receive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, take away our spiritual burden and enable us to share the joy of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, “Take my yoke and learn from me. . . and you will find rest" (Matt. 11:29),


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