Wednesday, July 13, 2005



JULY 14, 2005

EXODUS 3:13-20
Moses, hearing the voice of the LORD from the burning bush, said to
him, "When I go to the children of Israel and say to them, `The God
of your fathers has sent me to you,' if they ask me, `What is his
name?' what am I to tell them?" God replied, "I am who am." Then he
added, "This is what you shall tell the children of Israel: I AM sent
me to you." God spoke further to Moses, "Thus shall you say to the
children of Israel: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to
you. "This is my name forever; this my title for all
generations. "Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and tell them:
The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, has appeared to me and said: I am concerned about you and
about the way you are being treated in Egypt; so I have decided to
lead you up out of the misery of Egypt into the land of the
Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites,
a land flowing with milk and honey. "Thus they will heed your
message. Then you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of
Egypt and say to him: "The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent us
word. Permit us, then, to go a three-days' journey in the desert,
that we may offer sacrifice to the LORD, our God. "Yet I know that
the king of Egypt will not allow you to go unless he is forced. I
will stretch out my hand, therefore, and smite Egypt by doing all
kinds of wondrous deeds there. After that he will send you away."

MATTHEW 11:28-30
Jesus said: "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 yourselves. For
my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

A good teacher knows how to command attention and adopts various
techniques when the students' concentration wanes. Jesus is no
exception. The good teacher that Jesus is, using paradox, he
describes the yoke of his gospel as easy and his burden as light.
Unaccustomed as we are to pairing off these particular nouns and
adjectives, we are jolted into stopping and reflecting.

Jesus will never abandon us. He knows that our lives are demanding
and fretful, filled with anxieties about work, housing,
relationships, money, etc. As a result, we may have difficulty
absorbing the nourishment of prayer, scripture reading and the
sacraments. People can be like pieces of rubber bands stretched to
their utmost limits one day, then the next day in a state of collapse.

Jesus' yoke is a whole way of life, discipleship, and relationship
with him. He demands of us willing service to the gospel, but rewards
us with friendship and love. Our part of the bargain is a two-fold
pledge: to model our lives on his and to enter wholeheartedly into
relationship with him.

The image of the yoke calls to mind two oxen ploughing a field,
pulling along side by side, in step with one another. Jesus walks by
our side if we invite him into the rhythm of our lives. Sharing our
burden, he befriends us on our journey through life and invites us to
rest with him at the end of the day. We are made in the image of a
hard-working God who labored to create the world and who works with
us to sustain it, to rest with us as we renew our energies.

Discipleship and trust are key qualities that are needed. Enthusiasm
for the Lord can see us through the ups and downs of life, focusing
us and filling us with the light of his grace. The conviction that
Jesus is by our side can calm our fears and encourage us to take the
spiritual rest that we all need for a healthy and balanced life as we
journey on the difficult road of life. Let us always be aware of
Jesus by our side, not lifting or removing but sharing our burdens,
and helping us to bear with joy the yoke of discipleship.

"Lord, inflame my heart with love for you and for your ways and help
me to exchange the yoke of rebellion for the yoke of submission to
your holy and loving word. Set me free from the folly of my own
sinful ignorance and rebellious pride that I may I wholly desire what
is good and in accord with your will."

Have a good day!

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