Take my yoke upon you and learn from me

My yoke is easy.jpg

Deacon Tom's Homily for Thursday July 19th 2018

Today Jesus is asking us to take on his yoke and learn from him, and if we do we’ll find rest. The "yoke" was an image used by the Jews of Jesus' time to mean obedience to God's law as given by Moses.

Now we’ve all seen a yoke, even if just in a picture. A yoke had to be custom fitted to each animal to avoid discomfort and sores. If it fits correctly the animal will obey your commands. If not, the animal will rebel and quit working. Three things about a yoke: If it’s fitted properly, then the animal will be submissive to the master and willing to make small corrections. So how does this apply to use today?

This Gospel passage needs to be read together with yesterday’s passage in which Jesus tells us about knowing his Father. Only Jesus reveals the Father to us. That is where wisdom lies.

Each of us has a yoke. You may not see it but it’s there. God has given each of us a custom fitted yoke with talents and skills, not just for our use but for the benefit of all. For us, the ease of the burden is that God asks us to give what we have and not take on something we are not.

Consider this scripture text: “Take her yoke upon your neck; that your mind may receive her teaching. For she is close to those who seek her, and the one who is in earnest finds her[1]”. Three truths here: we must accept the yoke, we must be submissive to Christ’s teachings and we must change our lives through daily conversion. That image is the background of Jesus’ saying his burden is light.

My many years have taught me this: wisdom lies with knowing the Father. We can learn about what really matters in life. Today, education offers us a way up the ladder of success. That is surely important to pursue in the business of making a living. But what about making a life? What about stopping to smell the flowers?

Only Jesus offers us the knowledge we need to succeed in making a life. He imparts knowledge through his Word and sacraments and teachings from others. I highly encourage you attend conferences to hear dynamic speakers and meet other dynamic, courageous Catholics. Conferences such as the Fullness of Truth Conferences, Pilgrim Center of Hope Catholic Men’s and Women’s Conferences, Catholic Senior’s Conference, and in November The Assembly with our Archbishop, and many more,

Isaiah taught us today that when favor was shown to the wicked, they learned nothing. It was not due to their inability to learn, but of their stubborn refusal to learn. As Christ saw it, "Light has come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil[2]". Satan would have us believe that men disbelieve because they are "smart"; but that is one of Satan's favorite lies. Men disbelieve because they are wicked.

Through Christ and others, he imparts knowledge freely to anyone who seeks his knowledge of life. He teaches us to love. He will help us answer the most important question in our lives: how many times have we made selfish choice? And how many times have we sacrificed ourselves for others? Love outweighs everything else. Jesus, our teacher, will help us tip the scales in the right direction.

So, with hope and promise, let’s hitch up our own yokes, whether they be our laptops, baking tins, pruning shears, knitting needles, or prayer, which is a vital part of our communication with our Father, and take on Jesus’ work of creating the Kingdom of God.

[1] Sirach 51: 25-26

(John 3:19)[2]