REFLECTION: Yoke easy, burden light? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 December 2014 11:33

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

That’s what Christ said! “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.” (Mt 11,29-30)

I’m quite sure that at first reading and simply relying on our native attitudes in the raw, these words will strike us as funny. We can dismiss them, saying, “Tell it to the marines!” How in the world can things be easy and light when our immediate perception of things in general point precisely to the contrary?

Even without inputting the faith, life is already full of hardships. We have to contend with our weaknesses—physical, emotional, psychological, etc. Then the endless challenges and difficulties of life—the trials, setbacks, pressures… The world would not be enough to record all the possible problems and complications we can encounter in life.

And if we input the requirements of faith and of the spiritual and moral laws, things become even more difficult if not impossible. Christ already warned us that we need to enter by the narrow gate, we have to deny ourselves and carry the cross, we have to do some violence to enter heaven.

Christ himself, who is supposed to be our “way, truth and life,” begged the Father in his agony in the garden to let the cup pass by him, knowing what tremendous sacrifice he had to do by offering his life on the cross.

In our case, we know that in spite of our best efforts, we can still find ourselves wallowing in the mud of our own stupidities. Even those of us who consider ourselves good and holy are often afflicted with the most deceptive illness of self-righteousness, bigotry, pride.

Yes, we can do a lot of good things, we can affirm a lot of truths of our faith, we can burn with a certain holy zeal, and yet quite often, evil, in all its forms overt and mostly hidden and subtle, undermine if not nullify them.

We have to contend with the erratic impulses of our weakened flesh, the many temptations in the world, and the wiles and tricks of the devil. We are told that we are ranged against powerful spiritual enemies. St. Paul warned us so:

“Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of darkness, against the spirit of wickedness in the high places.” (Eph 6,12)

Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden light? Before we say, no way, let’s see if we are missing something we ought to know. Let’s review more closely the words of Christ. There we will realize that he is asking us to learn from him because he is meek and humble of heart.

That, I think, is the secret. The meekness and humility of Christ is the way for us to accept anything in this life and end up considering his yoke to be easy and his burden light. He is telling us that with his meekness and humility, we can be patient and can take on anything in this life, no matter how hard and impossible they may be, humanly speaking.

It’s a matter of attitude, of having the very spirit of Christ who actually gives it to us abundantly if we don’t hinder it.

It is the attitude and spirit that was beautifully articulated by St. Paul a number of times.

“We also are weak in him (Christ), but we shall live with him by the power of God towards us.” (2 Cor 13,4) Again, “Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me…for when I am weak, then am I powerful.” (2 Cor 12,9-10)

We have to make sure that we increasingly identify ourselves with Christ, acquiring his spirit through our prayers, recourse to the sacraments, internalizing his doctrine and example, and waging a continuing ascetical struggle to develop virtues.

We have to make sure that we grow in meekness and humility which can serve as the doorway for faith, hope and charity to enter, stay and develop to maturity in our life.

Although suffering will always be suffering in whatever form it may come, somehow we are also afforded some kind of mysterious anesthetic, made up of faith and charity, that would enable us to go through that suffering without much drama, just like what happened to Christ while dying on the Cross.

This is when we can say that Christ’s yoke is indeed easy, and his burden light!