“Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest… for My yoke is easy, and My burden light” – Matthew 11:28
A few years back, I had “one of those weeks.” My wife was experiencing the worst of her chemo treatment for breast cancer. I experienced the loss of an extended family member. Work challenges were immense. And on top of it all, I had to defend my doctoral dissertation. I remember the physical and emotional exhaustion. Consumed with my burdens, it was this scripture passage that I recalled in the moment. It was this passage that made me pause, walk to the school chapel (a blessing of working in Catholic education), and seek rest in Christ.
Even in less dramatic weeks, the demands of life can still be a heavy burden, and necessary rest elusive. Many people have a “kind of tired that sleep won’t fix.” Thus, the imagery of a yoke perhaps symbolizes the daily challenge inherent in our labor. While designed to “manage” the burden of pulling our heavy load, the yoke is nonetheless still taxing and the burden still heavy.
But therein lies what today’s Gospel message tells us. Christ reminds us that if we need help “managing” our burdens, that His yoke is easy, and that true rest can be found in Him. We need to take up His yoke.
Our own Xaverian Fundamental Principles cite, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The Fundamental Principles, also a source for reflection and prayer this Advent Season, are presented to us to reflect upon and strengthen our courage to follow Christ, place our burdens in His care, and build trust that He will give us rest.
Lord, grant us the courage to surrender our burdens to You, and freely take up Your yoke. Let us find rest in Your unconditional love.
Dr. Patrick Slattery
To view the full Advent 2022 booklet in English, click here.
For Spanish, click here.
For French, click here.