"I Will Give You Rest"
One of the most inviting and encouraging lines in the entire Bible is Jesus’ gentle invitation to come to him and learn from him. We hear in today’s Gospel reading, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
It is hard to read Jesus’ words without feeling lifted and comforted. Jesus promises rest and refreshment for our souls, and who doesn’t need that today? Amid a global pandemic, and all the death, suffering and economic dislocation that has come along with it, this is one of those times in our life to surrender to God. Now is the time to enter a closer communion with God by sharing his yoke and placing God at the center of our lives.
The concept of being yoked with Jesus speaks of a remarkably close relationship, since a yoke joins two beasts of burden together so that they can work together to get a difficult job done. Jesus invites us to be joined with Him so that He can do most of the work and take some of the pressure off us. He promises to teach us a way that will bring to us a reduction of the stress with which life encumbers us. The challenge for us, however, is that we must give up our independent and selfish ways and be joined completely with Jesus. We must admit that we cannot do it by ourselves and be humble. We need to give up control and allow Jesus to help shoulder the burden. In doing so we will find rest and refreshment because Jesus will be doing the greater part of the work.
It is so hard for some of us to give up control – even to Jesus. We think we must do it all by ourselves. We want to follow the attitude of the song “I Did It My Way.” Yet it is when we try to be the master of our own destiny that are humanity gets in the way. It is then that we struggle so hard, trying to do a task we were never meant to do alone. We need to let go of the control of our lives and let the Lord Jesus take over. That takes humility. It means we must humbly admit we are not the be-all and end-all of the world, not even the be-all and end-all of our own lives. It is when we can humbly surrender to GOD that we will experience the rest and freedom from the heavy burden which we carry.
The very heart of worship is surrender and the central element in communion with God is that very act of self-surrender. What burden is weighing you down this week? Surrender to God and let Him share your burden. You are not alone in this time of crisis. Reach out to Him!
God bless you folks. Father Gerard.