Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11:29)
Today we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Jesus describes as gentle and lowly. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus is rejoicing and offering thanksgiving to God for the success recorded by the twelve apostles upon their return from the mission of evangelisation. Jesus sent the twelve out because, as we read in Matthew 9:34, “When Jesus saw crowds, He had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Besides merely feeling sorry for us, Jesus is always ready with a solution. When he saw the crowds had been with Him all day and they had nothing to eat, Jesus worked the miracle of the loaves. Jesus would not see his children in a pitiable condition and decide to ignore them. When he felt the crowds lacked a shepherd, He sent the disciples two by two into their towns to preach.
In today’s Gospel passage, we hear Jesus saying: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). This is rephrasing the words of Moses in today’s first reading: “He is a faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love for those who love Him…” (Deuteronomy 7:9). Are you troubled, disturbed, confused, dejected, angry, hopeless, etc.? Jesus is saying to you today: “Come to me. I know what you are going through and have the solution.”
Besides simply coming to Him, Jesus wants us to take His yoke and learn from him. In a world where might is right and people would rather have their way with violence, Jesus wants us to know from his simplicity, gentleness and lowliness. As he said: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Peter wanted to fight on the night of His arrest, but Jesus said: “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52).
Learning from Jesus entails learning to forgive others. This is the yoke we must bear, but as Jesus says, it is easier than we think and is vital to finding rest for our souls. John tells us in today’s second reading, “Let us love one another (including our enemies), for he who does not love does not know God.” (1 John 4:7-8) If our hearts cannot love as Jesus loved, we have yet to learn from Him.
Let us pray: Almighty Ever-Living God, make my heart soft and gentle like yours. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Deuteronomy 7:6-11, Ps. 103:1-4,6-8,10, 1 John 4:7-16, Matthew 11:25-30)*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu