Gospel Meditation

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Is there anyone to whom this doesn’t apply? Don’t we all have to labor at something, whether it be work, school, relationships, household affairs, or personal, emotional, or mental battles? Aren’t we all burdened in some way at some time?

Jesus offers us powerful words of consolation in today’s Gospel. He promises us rest. He calls all of us to himself, along with the baggage and burdens that we carry, and assures us that we will find relief. Thank God! What a gift for our tired, weary souls.

The strange part about the passage, however, is when Jesus suggests that in order to find this wonderful rest, we have to take a “yoke” upon our shoulders. This of course is a reference to the animal harness of old that would join two oxen together to share the weight of the load they carried. He tells us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Somehow, joining Jesus in his work is supposed to bring us rest! Contrary to the standard belief that not working is the source of relief, Jesus urges us to join him in his mission in order to find peace. But what is this mission? To be “meek and humble of heart.” Jesus’ work is to do whatever God the Father wants him to do. As he says elsewhere, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work” (Jn 4:34). So, it seems that if we also humbly submit to doing God’s work—with Jesus right alongside us as our partner in the task—we will “find rest” for ourselves. So as we labor through the trials of the day, may we bear this in mind, and pray that we may handle them according to the will of God.
© Liturgical Publications