“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 your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
3 June 2020
In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus provides us with awesome words of comfort as he encourages us to take up his yoke and put his words into action. Sometimes we hesitate to wear the yoke, to put God’s will before our own wants and desires. We fear missing out on pleasure and fun, only to learn that His will is the only true path to peace and joy. Thankfully, through His grace and support, the yoke is made easy and light.
Now more than ever we find opportunities to put Christ’s words into action through selfless, caring acts of our own. We sacrifice our desire for “normal” – a desire to be the social beings that we are, to celebrate life with large gatherings of family and friends, and to show appreciation and compassion through the warmth of a hug or the shake of a hand. We wear masks not because we enjoy them, but because we care about life – all lives, the lives of all persons in our faith and local community. These are the burdens of our current modern time, made easier and lighter for us when heartfully embraced as taking up the yoke and living the will of God.
Jesus is not afraid to carry our burdens with us. In Him we can find refreshment for the days and weeks ahead. By our reliance on Jesus, we can bring that same encouragement and comfort to others. So many people our discouraged with social distancing and wearing face coverings. These are difficult practices for many of us that we are encouraged to do. But when you see a young family doing their part, especially the “little ones,” I find strength in their ability to witness to do my own part. Seeing a very young person wearing a face covering is a great reminder of the influence our young people can have in our lives. “If they can do it, so can I.” These days are challenging for all of us, no matter what age, and each of us have the potential for encouraging one another.
This weekend we celebrate Independence Day. Usually marked by parades, festive gatherings, and fireworks, for many it will be celebrated differently this year. I have already heard from many people who have cancelled their usual 4th of July parties. As we continue to journey together through this pandemic, we must continue to have the resolve to do our part to control the virus to keep our churches and our economy open, and to protect the health of our entire community.
While celebrating Independence Day and following safe practices, we celebrate the freedoms that we hold so dear. We realize how blessed we are even when events are cancelled. As a community working together, we become a model for people around the world who may not have the same freedoms that we enjoy. We remember the many people who have died for and are defending these freedoms today. As we do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus, each of us becomes a defender of freedom. This invisible enemy is challenging our understanding of freedom, and we carry that burden with Jesus.
As missionary disciples, let us reach out to family, friends, and neighbors this holiday weekend to extend Jesus’ words of encouragement, comfort, and love.