We live near the Amish country in Pennsylvania and we have vivid memories of seeing the Amish farmers tilling their fields in the springtime, their ploughs pulled by two horses or mules yoked together. I thought of that image this morning as I was meditating on today’s Gospel.
Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (Mt. 11:28-30)
For a long time I couldn’t understand this Gospel. What is so wonderful about having my neck encased in a yoke? What Jesus had in mind, I think, is that life has its joys but it also has its burdens and most often we try to carry those burdens all alone, under the power of our own strength. But Jesus tells us we do not have to do that. What He desires is that He carry the burdens with us. He wants to walk beside us – to be yoked with us – and together we will walk side by side. It is only then that our burdens will be light.
A yoked animal appears meek and humble (see photo above). Meekness has been defined as strength under control. Humility is knowing our place before God. Jesus asks us to learn from Him, He who is meek and humble. (See http://associate.com/library/www.christianlibrary.org/authors/Grady_Scott/matt5-5.htm )
How do we stay yoked to Jesus? For me it is to surrender to God’s will for my life, to not strain against His will but to go with Him as He leads me. Then His yoke will become easy for me and my burden will become light.