Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Introduction 

Consider the last time you struggled with a too-heavy suitcase, or had to pack up all your possessions and move to another address. Compare that with the yoke of Christ: the burden of love we carry in our hearts. Which experience is better, more life-giving, more real?

The yoke of Christ is the mandate to love, even when it means sacrifice, even if it involves suffering. It’s not the silly, romantic love that shows up in all the movies, but the day-to-day love of parents for children, the plodding fidelity of spouses, the single-hearted devotion of artists for their craft, the constancy of friends who support us when the news is bad. It’s a mirror of the love God has for us, and when we’re faithful in love, we open a window to that greater love for those around us to experience.

Love is a burden; but it’s a lovely one to bear. Anyone who has loved, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, knows that some burdens are a privilege to carry. If our love is tied up in the things of this world, we’ll be dragging that overstuffed suitcase around and wondering why we ache so. If our hearts are free to love others, Christ will carry that love to places we haven’t dreamed of.

How do you spend your love, on people or things? Are the burdens you carry difficult, or easy?

Make a decision to simplify. Be drastic! Give away on-third of what owns you: books, clothes, money, or some other item that’s collected around you. Contemplate what the new space in your life means, and what it’s for.

The Scripture (Matthew 11: 28-30) Jesus Thanks His Father

‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll discover life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly’.

The Reflection

We all have burdens we must carry: A handicapped child, a single life when you always thought you would marry, physical pain that completely absorbs your every thought are just a few examples. Jesus says that bearing any burden is possible when the weight is shared. ‘Learn from me’, he says.

When my father died, my mother said that no one offered her comfort as well as other widows. They made her burden lighter by their understanding hearts and good advice. Learning how to be a yoke-bearer takes thinking of others more often than ourselves and being willing to carry them once in a while. When we do this in our relationships, Jesus is present.

Some of the most successful marriages are the result of two people who love the other enough to bear their pain, frustrations and heartache. We get a little taste of heaven when someone lifts the weight of life’s suffering from us for the sake of love. And we can offer others the same when we reach out to them.

The Commissioning

Jesus says, ‘come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’.
Jesus says, ‘take my yoke upon you, and you will find rest for your inner beings’.
Jesus says, ‘for my yoke is easy and my burden is light’.
The peace of Christ is yours!

GPBS © (2023)

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