July 20

Ironically, Yoke Symbolizes Rest

Thursday, July 20 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. Matthew 11:29-30

As a device used on work animals to carry a burden, how does "yoke" become an image of refreshment, rest, lightness, and ease that faithful discipleship brings?

When I asked mechanical engineers about the yoke, one said that the yoke "smooths out the line of force." Another said that it "serves to draw the animal's force back to the most efficient center point."

A third suggested that the yoke allows animals to push the load with their chests and upper body where there is more strength available rather than to drag the weight with their lower backs. That is an apt image, the one that appeals most to me.

Interestingly, this is the text the Church uses for the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Jesus' chest, swelling with his heart's great love for us, invites us to draw near and share that refreshing strength. Yoked to Jesus' heart and learning from him, we have the vision to move forward with him instead of dragging our discouraging and wearying past behind us.

Fr. James Krings

Isaiah 26:7-91 121 16-19 9 Psalm 102:13-21 Matthew 11:28-30