"Take My yoke upon your shoulders." —Matthew 11:29
A yoke is a strong wooden beam with curved wooden circles that fit over the necks of two oxen so they will pull a plow in the same direction. We are yoked with Jesus, willingly or unwillingly. When we refuse to accept Jesus as Lord of our lives, we decide that we will go in a different direction than that which Jesus knows is best for our lives and His kingdom.
There's not much of a future in pulling against Jesus, for He is God (Jn 1:1), "I Am Who Am" (Ex 3:14). We find Jesus to be a literal "pain in the neck." We become "stiff-necked people" (Ex 33:3), bitter, frustrated, and perpetually angry with God.
When we decide to walk where Jesus walks, our necks no longer hurt. We no longer pull against Jesus; instead, we let it be done to us (Lk 1:38) as He shoulders our load, doing most of the work Himself. In addition, Jesus is gentle (Mt 11:29) and considerate. He gives us rest (Mt 11:29). He leads us beside restful waters and makes us lie down (Ps 23:2-3). He will take us to Calvary and pull us through the cross to risen life. When we pull with Jesus, we are working for Him, and His justice compels Him to be sure that we are nourished and sustained well (cf 1 Tm 5:18; 1 Cor 9:7-10).
When we are bound to Jesus' yoke, we may seem like slaves to the world. However, a slave yoked to Jesus is truly free (Jn 8:36). His "yoke is easy" (Mt 11:30). "Submit your necks to the yoke of" Jesus (see Jer 27:12). Accept Jesus as Lord of your life.
Prayer: Jesus, beginning today, I'll stick my neck out for You every day of the rest of my life. I am all Yours.
Promise: "Come to Me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you." —Mt 11:28
Praise: St. Bonaventure, being yoked to his loving Savior, brought to many a deeper love for his beloved St. Francis' way of life.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2009
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