Taking Your Yoke

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I did not see.

I never thought I was wise or intelligent but I could not see you because I did not look at you with the eyes of a child.

I could not see that your yoke is easy. I saw you weary, I saw you beaten, I saw you taking the world of sin on your shoulders. How was that light or easy? How could I share that weight?

My Own Yoke

It seemed to me that my own yoke was heavy enough. Why should I take yours on too? I was weary enough, beaten enough and overburdened enough for myself. It was hard enough to fulfil the needs of each day. I could do that though. If I worked hard I could reach the targets and I could keep on achieving all the goals I set myself, for as long as necessary. The day had a structure and I had the comfort of knowing that I was competent and self sufficient.

And then I fell. Quite simply, while I was running fast, to do everything, racing from one task to another, I spun on my feet and fell down onto the stones in a marvelous, slow, dream-like and quite inevitable fall. Once that fall to earth began there was no preventing it. The world around moved on, and I dropped out, as helpless and incompetent as an infant.

Like a Child

And there on the ground I lay like a child and now at last I understood. So close to the earth, with the sky arching above me there was no hope of standing up and no chance of running to regain my ground. With a bruised face and grazed knees, I could only look upwards. Like a child, I lifted up my arms to you. With soiled hands I clung to you and wept as only children do, who know they are held. 

I understood the yoke now. The yoke is what holds us to you. The yoke is not a weight or restriction, it draws us close to you like the cloth that carries the child against his mother. In your gentle embrace we can rest. There is no need then to keep on struggling with all the burdens we try to carry. We can open our hands and let those fall to the floor; so then, with our hands empty we may reach up to you and see what a child can see.

Let me learn from your Wisdom and rest in the yoke of your arms Lord. Amen.

[Readings: Acts 13: 13-25; Jn 13:16-20]

Deborah van Kroonenburg

Deborah van Kroonenburg

I am a Secular Carmelite, mother and grandmother, worked in the NHS for many years as a midwife and health visitor, and now work for my UK Diocese, in Marriage and Family Life and Catechesis, as well as helping my husband who is a Deacon in our parish.

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