Commentary on the Gospel of
Today’s gospel is a familiar one – most have heard this message before.
“Come to me, all you who labor 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.”
When I first read this a few weeks ago, I thought how perfect this gospel is for us at this time. My initial thought was this would be an easy reflection to write. We plan, God laughs! I’ve struggled now for a couple of weeks – I understand the message but how do we “come to Him?”
Clearly this is a time in my life that I truly need Him more than ever. Yet, I am weary, so weary – physically, emotionally, spiritually weary – the world seems almost surreal. I can sit in my home (basically 24/7) and it may not seem so different. When I do venture out, the world is not what it once was. There are GREAT changes, for example the traffic is significantly decreased; and everything looks cleaner. However, the eeriness of it all -- the empty parking lots, airports with hardly a person moving about, many closed signs, live streamed masses with only spiritual communion and no gestures for the sign of peace, only masked strangers moving about – no smiles can be seen, it makes my heart break. The few times that I’m in the office and others are there, we can chat – as long as we are six feet apart and wearing our masks – no hugs, no smiles, not even a handshake. There is a sense of isolation even if we are near people. I know that I am one of the lucky ones that does get to see people and be in some proximity. I do get hugs from my granddaughter and daughter. So how do I fill this void, how do I take that yoke and learn? It may seem strange that at this point in my life, I haven’t figured it out. I thought I had . . . .
When I look at it logically, some of the answers are clearer. God has not moved away, I have! I have let this crazy world dictate to me. I can pray more; I can find quiet time away from emails and Zoom meetings – all of this is within my abilities and desires. Why are my feet stuck in such clay? Writing the reflection demands that I stop and, indeed, reflect. I am reminded that I am a loved sinner. I have feet of clay, I make many mistakes and no matter what, I am still loved. I am loved by someone willing to take my burdens, to teach me, to allow me to share the yoke with Him and find rest. I need to find refreshment for my soul.
I have done reading about what some call soul injury – trauma that penetrates beyond the physical to the very essence of our being. Victims of abuse, veterans, those in war torn countries, and so many more who struggle with trying to find peace in their very souls. The pain comes not only for what is inflicted upon them but even from what they have inflicted. As a veteran, my heart is drawn to the veterans suffering such injuries. It seems that our current situation may leave many with such injuries not because of a specific trauma but the constant isolation and the new normal. I pray we can each find a way to share the yoke that is offered and find rest.
When I first read this gospel, a song immediately came to mind that does bring me much comfort – I hope it will do the same for you.