Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of JesusThis is one of those Scripture passages that makes me stop, re-read, pray through it, and in the end still not understand fully what is being said. With the first verse I am all excited. After all I need rest, I labour, and sometimes I feel like I'm being crushed by my load - my work, family, and other activites. However, as I read on I hear two mentions of a yoke. I know that a yoke is used to tie beasts of burden to farm or work implements. So, my question is "how is placing a yoke on my back going to give me rest? How is this harness of sorts going to provide "rest for my soul."
Jesus then goes on to admit that He is in fact giving me a burden - my burden is light. With one sentence I am told to come to Him for rest and the remainder of the passage tells me that I should take His yoke upon myself. What gives?
The only way I know to explain this apparent contradiction is with a life preserver or a life vest. It too is a sort of yoke, yet it is light. If we were to fall into the sea with this light and gentle yoke it would save our life. If we didn't have the life vest on, the wind and waves would overcome us and we would perish.
If we put on the easy yoke of Christ and the light burden of the Lord, we will be saved from drowning in the sea of sin. However, if we cling to that which is not from God, sin, we will sink straight to the bottom with our heavy burden.
So, what is the "yoke" of the Lord? What is the "light burden" that He gives us? The apostle John gives us the answer - "For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whomever is begotten by God conquers the world." 1 John 5:3
FROM THE SAINTS - "Any other burden opresses and crushes you, but Christ's actually takes weight off you. Any other burden weighs down, but Christ's gives you wings. If you take a bird's wings away, you might seem to be taking weight off it, but the more weight you take off, the more you tie it down to the earth. There it is on the ground, and you wanted to relieve it of a weight; give it back the weight of its wings and you will see how it flies." - Saint Augustine