My Yoke Is “Easier”
Thursday: Fifteenth Week of the Year: July 14, 2016
Year II: Isaiah 26:7-19; Psalm 102:13-21; Matthew 11:28-30
The Responsorial Psalm tells us we are never alone and unaided in our struggles: “From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth” (Psalm 102).
Isaiah 26: 7-19 acknowledges that of ourselves we can do nothing:
It is you who have accomplished all we have done…. Salvation we have not achieved for the earth, the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth.
What God does is infinitely beyond anything we could have achieved as humans:
When your judgment dawns upon the earth, the world’s inhabitants learn justice…. O Lord, you mete out peace to us…. Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise. Awake and sing, you who lie in the dust!
Jesus came that we might “have life and have it to the full.” This is the fullness of life both human and divine, and only Jesus can give it. But he gives it through the members of his body on earth who minister “through him, with him and in him.” To be faithful to our baptismal consecration as “priests in the Priest” we need to call people, not to a good, decent, human way of life, but to live in constant, conscious mystical union with Jesus Christ. This is to live out the mystery of grace, the “favor of sharing in the divine life of God.” When we feel like crying out, “My soul yearns for you in the night,” we need to remember not only that “from heaven the Lord looks down on the earth,” but that he is present, living and active within us. This is “life to the full.” It is a fullness we experience.
Jesus never promised to take trials and suffering out of life. That is why the world rejected him as Savior. But in Matthew 11: 28-30 he promises that life in union with him — even carrying the cross with him — is an experience of life that is easier and more peaceful than life apart from him. Whatever the world lays on our shoulders, if we come to Jesus with it, he will make it easier to bear: we will find “rest for our souls.” And, as challenging and radical as his teaching is, what Jesus himself asks of us is in fact “easy” and “light” compared to life not guided by his principles.
People will find this easier to believe if we, as his ministers, take care always to be “gentle and humble of heart”: “peaceable… willing to yield, full of mercy” — like “a nurse tenderly caring for her children.” 1
This requires us to be “humble of heart.” Christian ministry seeks and is built on “unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” This is an experience of “communion in the Holy Spirit” that is our experience of God.
Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”2
When this appears in our ministry Jesus reveals himself as giving “life to the full.”
Initiative: Give God’s life: Be a “priest in the Priest.” Be gentle and humble; treat everyone with kindness.
1James 3: 17-18; 1Thessalonians 2:7.
2lPeter 3:8, 5:5.