Daily Reflection
July 15th, 2004
Don Doll, S.J.
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, bishop and doctor of the Church
Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19
Psalm 102:13-14ab and 15, 16-18, 19-21

Matthew 11:28-30

If you think we live in turbulent times, read the biography of St. Bonventure online [http://www.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/bonavent.htm], whose feast we celebrate today.

At the young age of 36, Bonaventure was elected as the Minister General of the Friars Minor, and did much to resolve the bitter disputes in his order between the Relaxti and the Spiritualists of his order. Later he distinguished himself in Paris as a theologian, philosopher and a mystic.  He influenced the thinking of his good friend St. Thomas of Aquinas, and brought his wisdom to Church's councils. We would do well to seek his intercession today.

The Gospel today has Jesus saying "My yoke is easy, my burden light."  It's helpful to recall that in rabbinical literature the Law was often referred to as a 'yoke,' the wooden, double U-shaped device that hooks two beasts of burden together.  Jesus railed against the pharisees and scribes who imposed the burden of the law upon people with their strict interpretations. It's easy to understand why the Law was a 'yoke' or heavy burden.

The 'yoke' Jesus asks us to take on is the Kingdom of God.  And once we accept the reign of God in our lives, we live with the realization that God is Our Father, and all men and women are our brothers and sisters. Our obligation as a son or daughter of God to love one another as He has loved us.  That truly is a light burden.

Our life's burdens are lighter because we know we can ask the Spirit to intervene. There is no burden in life that we can't handle with God's help.  As Paul says,

If God is for us, who is against us?  . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  . . .  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So truly, His burden is light. Let us pray that we can can assume the 'yoke' of his Kingdom, and work to bring it about.

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