As I read today’s Gospel, I am struck by the personal invitations Jesus gives us in this brief passage. Our Lord starts with such a beautiful, open invitation to come to Him. Not when we are filled with self-reliance, feel like we have our ducks in a row or our life in order but when we are in need, laboring, struggling, or going through difficulty. Maybe on our knees.
It is in these more challenging moments when He invites us to come to Him. How often I make things worse by not coming to Him in these moments thinking my challenge is too insignificant, that He doesn’t care, or I can handle it. No, He asks, come to me. Rest in me.
From there He gives us a second invitation, to
take His yoke. A yoke is a wooden collar made for 2, which really doesn’t sound so inviting. And yet, His tone seems one of assurance. He will be close to us. He will carry His share and more of our burden. He will stay with us, and we will be close to Him. Always. Where we go, He will be, where He goes, we will follow. Jesus is telling us, “We are in this together “.
There is another aspect to the invitation to take His yoke. He is giving us what is His. There is something very tender in that. The Lord then invites us to learn from Him. He who is truth, who is wisdom, who is Love, says, learn from me.
We might feel uncomfortable being so close, so connected to the Lord with our burdens, our struggles, and our sin. With no place to hide. Maybe I would rather not have the Lord see me in this way. Almost anticipating our worry about being so close, or opening and revealing so much to Him, He speaks to us, “I am gentle and humble of heart.” As if to say, “don’t worry, I know you”.
Such a beautiful invitation to be with Him, close to Him, to bring everything to Him. How much He desires that we live this way. For He knows, only being close to Him, connected to Him and trusting in Him will we truly find rest. A rest only He can give, rest for our souls.
Steve Walsh is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, and a good friend of the Passionist Community