by Very Rev. Jamin Scott David
The realities of Monday are right around the corner; the real world awaits in just a couple of days. When the holidays come, we feel relaxed and we just want to take some time to get away; but just as soon at it comes it seems like it’s gone. The world’s burdens seem ready to weigh down upon our shoulders.
Might today’s Scripture readings that we’re so familiar with – the story of heavy burdens and light yokes – be challenging us to engage in a full understanding of complete surrender to God whose power is far more supreme than our own?
In our first reading from the book of the prophet Zechariah, we might be easily fooled by the image of the savior! How can he carry all our burdens? He doesn’t come triumphantly, but rather rides in on a donkey. And yet we’re supposed to expect him to banish all of our earthly burdens? We might thus be tempted to rely on our own strengths rather than on the Lord.
We might receive a bit more solace in our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Church of Rome. How often have we felt the way that Paul did! No matter how hard we try to live according to the great commandments, no matter how often we try to love God and our neighbor, it just seems like it never turns out quite the way we want. Paul too sounds like he is exhausted and in his desperation, he’s no longer able to do anything to help free himself from his burdens. But his cries are quickly calmed by his faith and his acknowledgment that weakness is defeated by God through our life with Jesus as our companion.
When we arrive at our Gospel reading, we might want to run away from the solace Jesus promises. Elsewhere in Scripture, he is portrayed overturning injustices and “stirring the pot” concerning society’s attitude. It seems like Jesus isn’t offering rest but is rather causing a disturbance. However, nowhere in the Gospel does Jesus tell us that it is an easy task to follow him. In fact, there is a cost. But the Lord challenges us to surrender to Him and His power that is far more supreme than our own.
Yes, the world we live in can weigh us down with the demands of work. We strive for more; things tempt us that seem to offer happiness, and we can often feel as if we hold the weight of the entire world in our hands. What are some of those areas from which you need rest, and how are you going to invite the Lord to free you from them?
Our Gospel message today is that despite the way we might feel, despite our reliance on our self-strength, the only person with the real control in our lives is God. It can be tough for us to imagine how a meek man from Jerusalem who rides on a donkey can do more for us than money, muscles, and power. Yet his death brings new life to us; why shouldn’t we give our troubles to him and get some rest? ~Fr. Jamin