Chronic unemployment, downsizing and job insecurity; lack of, or insufficient medical insurance; growing children who make questionable life choices; cancer and other life altering and threatening diseases in ourselves or those we love; the debilitating effects of ageing and the consequent loss of independence. Today who is not burdened by life in some way?
The burdens of life have been part of the human condition since the beginning. Scripture recognizes this reality, yet Isaiah and Jesus in today’s readings, offer a message of hope in the midst of that suffering. Isaiah proclaims that the Lord will renew the strength of the young who stagger and fall so that they will "run and not grow weary"; Jesus promises to refresh and give rest to those who find life burdensome.
The "yoke" of Jesus is easy and his "burden" light. Yet we have a choice. We can lash out against any burden as unfair and undeserved or we can respond in faith, knowing that God is with us even is the midst of confusion and uncertainty. As we continue to strive to live our lives open to, and in union with, the Lord we find that the "yokes" and "burdens" that come with just the normal progression of living can be more easily accepted. We will be given a new vision filled with the hope that there is meaning in whatever burdens we carry and indeed our souls will find rest.
Cathy Anthony is on the staff of St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.