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The Gospel from Thursday’s daily Mass contains memorable but often misunderstood lines:
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest … Take my yoke upon you … For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Word - Sentence - Word - Jesus - Yoke
The most important word in this sentence is the word “my.” Jesus says, my yoke is easy; my burden is light.
What is a yoke? It’s a wooden truss that makes it easier to carry a heavy load by distributing the weight across a wider part of the body or by allowing the weight to be shared by two or more people or animals. In the picture above, the woman is able to carry the heavy water more easily with the weight distributed across her shoulders rather than in her hands. The load is eased by involving more parts of the body. Yokes are also used to join two animals and help them work together in pulling a load.
Jesus - Yoke - Cross - Notice - Jesus
What is Jesus saying? First, He is saying that He has a yoke for us. That is, He has a cross for us. Notice that Jesus is not saying that there is no yoke or cross in following Him. There is a cross that He allows, and He allows it for a reason and for a season.
Easy? Jesus says that the cross he has for us is “easy.” The Greek word χρηστὸς (chrestos) is better translated as “well fitting,” “suitable,” or even “useful.” In effect, the Lord is saying that the yoke he has for us is suited to us; it fits us well and has been carefully chosen so as to be useful for us. God knows that we need some crosses in order to grow. He knows what those crosses are. He knows what we can bear and what...
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