Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Isaiah 26:7-9.12.16-19; Matthew 11:28-30)
A television drama featured the story of a Catholic school teacher. The woman was fired for having conceived a baby through in vitro fertilization. The drama portrayed the Church as dominated by rules and regulations with little compassion for barren couples. Although people do not like to think of Jesus acting in this way, his Sermon on the Mount certainly sounds unrelenting regarding obligations and prohibitions. In it he demands perfection and prohibits divorce. One wonders then what Jesus could mean in today’s gospel when he says, “My yoke is easy.”
His yoke seems to be very difficult, indeed. Perhaps the reason for this perception is that most people think of it as a code of conduct. But that is not what it is at all. Jesus’ yoke is his relationship with God, his Father. He, more than anyone else, knows God to be his Father who always cares for him. He delivers himself to evil men knowing that things will turn out all right. He now offers his followers a share in this relationship. They too can feel the freedom of being children of God.
We should realize that people do not need a lot of things to be thrive as human beings. Indeed, having things often is a prescription to misery. But we do need loving relationships. When we join the Church, we are adopted into God’s family. We help one another appreciate how to live as God’s children. The relationship with the Father, with Jesus, and with one another brings a modicum of happiness. It is likely that others will take note of our happiness and join us. It is certain that we will experience fulness of happiness in eternal life.