Come to Jesus: His Yoke is Easy and Light

Homily for the Fourteenth Sunday of Year A

by Fr. Tommy Lane

“There must be something more to life.” “The Lord must have some plan for me.” I hear these and other similar statements from time to time. It is the statement of someone who does not appear to be happy with their lot in life. It is the statement of someone who is searching for an answer to the meaning of their life. I would say it is the statement of someone who, unknown to themselves, is being called into a deeper relationship with the Lord. There is something more to life and the Lord does have a plan for you. That something more and that plan is that you get to know the heart of Jesus. Therefore Jesus says in the Gospel today,

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Matt 11:28-30)

Did you hear that invitation from Jesus? “Come to me…I will give you rest.” “There must be something more to life.” Yes. Jesus has something more for you. Go to Jesus…he will give you rest.

Jesus certainly knew all about yokes. As a carpenter he would have been asked from time to time to make a wooden yoke for farmers so that they could get two oxen to pull a plough or other farm implement together. The yoke was the wooden crossbeam that joined the two animals at the neck and that crossbeam dragged the farm implement. Since animals are different sizes it was common to have a yoke cut to measure for the animals pulling it. Otherwise it would not fit the animal correctly and cause considerable discomfort. As a carpenter Jesus must have cut many such yokes. The yoke that Jesus cuts for us does not cause discomfort but brings us comfort because the yoke of Jesus is easy and light. The invitation of Jesus to us is not a yoke that weighs us down but is easy and light,

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Matt 11:29-30)

Perhaps you could even see Jesus as the other one pulling the yoke with you, Jesus helping you carry your burdens and crosses,

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Matt 11:28-30)

Any difficulty we have in meeting Jesus and taking his yoke upon us is certainly not coming from Jesus. Is the reason we do not know Jesus is because we do not open our hearts to him? Jesus praised the childlike in the Gospel,

I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. (Matt 11:25)

No wonder that Jesus loved children because their hearts were open to him unlike the scribes and Pharisees. I think we could say the learned and the clever of today include those who do not believe that Jesus is really and truly present in the Eucharist. But those with hearts open to Jesus, the childlike, have Jesus revealed to them in the Eucharist.

I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. (Matt 11:25)

Open your heart to Jesus. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Open your heart to Jesus and live, as Paul wrote in our second reading, not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit,

…we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom 8:12-13)

If we do not go to Jesus when we labor and are burdened with life’s problems, to whom or to what do we go? If we do not look for answers to our problems in Jesus we will not find them elsewhere or else just find partial or deluding answers. The answers of the culture of our time are deluding, because the culture of our time falsely tells us we will find happiness in sin. But sin never brings happiness because sin is sin. Therefore the culture of this time wants to lay upon us a yoke that is heavy and painful. The prophecy of Zechariah in our first reading about the king riding on a donkey was fulfilled in Jesus riding into Jerusalem the week before his Passion and death. Zechariah said, “he shall proclaim peace to the nations.” (Zech 9:10) Yes Jesus proclaims peace to you; will you accept his peace? How can you find his peace? Open your heart to him. Pray to Jesus. If you do not spend time with Jesus how can you find his peace? Spend time with Jesus in prayer every day to find his peace. Come to Jesus here in the Eucharist. You do not have Jesus in the Eucharist at home or in other churches.

“There must be something more to life.” “The Lord must have some plan for me.” Yes, live according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh. Open your heart to Jesus. Walk every day yoked to the Lord in prayer and meet him in the Eucharist. Listen to his invitation.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Matt 11:29-30)

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered in a parish in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

More homilies for the Fourteenth Sunday Year A

Come to Me all you who labor and are overburdened