But we are a different story. We forget the bargain whenever it is too hard to live up to it. We forget our responsibilities when we fail to act as God calls us to do. We do not remember the covenant when we put ourselves first, instead of what God’s seeks from us and for us. We labor, and we fail. We are burdened with the heaviness of being, living in a world of temptation, attraction, selfishness, greed, and pride. By our nature, we tend to fail more than we succeed, and so we become discouraged. We sometimes quit for long periods of time, and form habits that make it even harder for us to come back, even though God is always there for us.
Jesus reminds us that this struggle need not be so difficult. He calls us to join with Him in a new covenant by taking up his burden, and being yoked with Him. He calls us to learn from Him – to learn to be like Him, meek and humble of heart. And Jesus promises to be with us as we make our way through life, for we are journeying with Him.
This new covenant builds on the covenant of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Moses, but it is different. This is more a shared undertaking, a partnership, than the older covenants, because it is based on Jesus. Jesus lived as we do – in human form and with human challenges. And so when Jesus says we can learn from Him, that we can share His burden, that the burden is light and the yoke easy, He is promising to help us from His experience, from knowing what we desire and how we can respond more fully to God’s call. We are not alone in this struggle, we have Jesus there as our guide and companion. When we falter, He is there to pull us along, for we share the yoke with Him.
And so my prayer today is to ask for the grace of gratitude, for the will to learn, and for awareness of the power of my partner in the yoke.
For a related reflection on just this gospel reading, I suggest you try the following link: http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/644/Yoke_of_Faith.html.
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