The Word Among Us

Mass Reading & Meditation for July 18, 2024 View another date

Meditation: Matthew 11:28-30

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Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Optional Memorial)

Entrance Antiphon

Come, you blessed of my Father, says the Lord:
I was sick, and you visited me.
Amen, I say to you: Whatever you did
for one of the least of my brethren you did it for me. Cf. Mt 25:34, 36, 40
OR
Open-handed, he gives to the poor;
his justice stands firm for ever.
His might...

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Daily Meditation: Matthew 11:28-30

My yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Matthew 11:30)

If you’ve ever worked with or observed oxen yoked together, then you can appreciate how uplifting and encouraging Jesus’ words are in today’s Gospel.

A yoke is a sturdy wooden brace that is typically placed on the shoulders of two oxen so that they can work together. Quite often, a younger untrained ox is yoked to an older experienced ox until the younger one learns his job. This yoke restricts the ox’s movement and makes it fall into step with the more experienced one. Thus, the young ox learns how to pull its fair share of the load—and that makes the load much easier to carry. And when two experienced oxen are yoked together, they are able to pull substantially more weight and do it with less strain.

When we look at Jesus’ words this way, we can see how promising they are. If we take up his “yoke,” we’ll find it easier to bear the weight of the work he has called us to do. He will not only teach us how to walk with him, but he’ll end up doing much of the heavy lifting for us.

Now, taking up Jesus’ yoke can seem intimidating. We see that walking with him means living by a higher standard, resisting temptation, and actively working to grow our faith. We see that it means confessing our shortcomings and sins and humbly asking for forgiveness when we disobey.

But if we move past any fear or hesitation we might have and actually harness ourselves to the Lord with an openness to learn, we’ll discover that his yoke truly is as “easy” and “light” as he promised. Not because we can still do whatever we want, but because Jesus is such a “meek and humble” master (Matthew 11:29). He is patient with us because he knows all our weaknesses and failings—and he loves us unconditionally.

Is there an area of your life that you’re struggling to bring under Jesus’ yoke? Remember the oxen! Remember how much easier life can be if you confess your need for him. Rather than trying to fight and pull to go your own way, imagine how much more restful it can be if you surrender to him. Maybe not immediately, but definitely in the long run, you will “find rest” under the gentle mastery of the Lord (Matthew 11:29)!

“Lord, teach me how to walk under your yoke.”

Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19
Psalm 102:13-21

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