My little homily at this weekend caused considerable discussion and reflection among some parishioners, not so much agreement and disagreement but instead inspiring alternative thoughts. I was moved to hear these.
Nothing is more inspiring for a preacher than to see a homily reflection stimulating in the hearers a deep desire to understand a passage of scripture more deeply and to grow in maturity with Christ.
The scripture that ignited the parishioners’ reflections was from today’s Gospel reading:
“Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
My own homily offering focussed on the odd thought that Jesus invites us to rest, and then suggests that taking up his yoke is the way he gives us rest.
Too often we think of rest as the absence of work or activity. In fact real rest is found when we strive to be in right-relationship with God, even in the midst of activity. I finished by saying that in my experience whole-hearted Catholic Christian living is the easiest and lightest burden among all the possible alternatives.
Living in harmony with Jesus is (in my experience) the easiest and most joy-filled way for me to live. When I abandon this “yoke” and grasp at alternative offerings, (all of which promise much and deliver little or nothing), it’s then that I run into problems and feel really burdened.
As the Hawarden parishioners explained a yoke is a wooden crosspiece that joins the two (or more) oxen or cattle in harness so that they can share the weight of the plough or cart that they are to pull.
One parishioner said that whenever she feels burdened she imagines that she is yoked to Jesus and that he (being stronger than her) is happy to pull most of the weight, and she can relax knowing that she has great and strong company with Him alongside her.
Then I entered a conversation with a group of parishioners who were sharing the joy of feeling “yoked together” as people of faith, so that if one of them was feeling a bit week, the rest of the team could pick up the burden enabling them all to stay together.
If you would like some further reflections from an earlier Food For Faith posting try this Time Off or Leisure link.