15th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday

In today’s Gospel Our Lord invites us to rest by taking up his yoke and learning from him. It seems like a strange way to rest: not many people associate taking a break with taking on more work. Our Lord is trying to be encouraging while being realistic: the burdens of life do not go away by being a good Christian. Some may argue that being a Christian is more of a burden. Jesus is teaching us today that it is not so much a question of getting rid of burdens as learning to manage them in a Christian way and with a Christian attitude.

Adam and Eve decided to take all the “burden” upon themselves, and we all know how that turned out, not just for them, but for all of us. We take burdens upon ourselves for fleeting and passing things–success, pleasure, power–and then we’re surprised when life just becomes a grind because we’re looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places. Our Lord wants to teach us the burdens of life that are really worth taking on, and how to handle them better: a yoke is an aid to supporting a load and directing it more easily, so taking on the yoke Christ offers us will help us bear the loads of life with more virtue and less frustration.

Let’s ask Our Lord today to help us distinguish between the burdens that are self-inflicted and those that help us achieve the things for those we love that are really worthwhile. Let’s not be shy about taking up his yoke to help us handle life’s trials better.

Readings: Exodus 3:13–20; Psalm 105:1, 5, 8–9, 24–27; Matthew 11:28–30.