July 5, 2020 – 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“May the ‘Yoke’ of Christ give us rest, hope, strength and joy and may we hear the Good Shepherd telling us in our moments of struggle, ‘My Child, it’s Jesus!’”

(Based on Zech 9:9-10, Rom 8:9, 11-13 and Mt 11:25-30 – 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time)

A story is told of a shabby old man who would go to the Church at noon every day.

He would just be inside the Church for a few minutes.

The sacristan of the Church was disturbed with this man’s daily presence..
… “What could he be doing?”
… “Why is the motive of this shabby man?”

After all, the Church also contained valuable furnishings.

“I go to pray,” the old man said in reply to the sacristan’s questioning.

“Oh, come on! Don’t lie”, the sacristan refuted, “you are never long enough in the church to pray.”

“Well, you see,’ the old man went on…
“I cannot make a long prayer.
But every day at twelve o’clock I just come and say, “Jesus, it’s Jim.”
I wait for a minute and then come away.

It’s just a little prayer, but I guess He hears me.”

Some months back, Jim was injured and was taken to the hospital.

He had a wonderful influence in the hospital ward

Grumbling patients became cheerful and often the ward would ring with laughter.

“Well, Jim,” said the nurse to him one day, “It’s so wonderful to see you happy always!”

“Hmm… yes, Sister, I can’t help being happy.
You see, it’s my Visitor. Every day He makes me happy!”

“Your visitor?” asked the puzzled sister, for he was a lonely old man, with no relations, “Your visitor? But when does he come?’

“Every day,” Jim replied, with the twinkle in his eyes growing brighter.

“Every day at twelve o’clock He comes and stands at the foot of my bed.
I see Him and He smiles and says, “Jim, it’s Jesus!”

When we lean on to the Lord, He gives us His rest and consolation

When we are faithful to our relationship with Him, He strengthens us and comforts us!

The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful invitation by the Lord…
…. to come to His Presence
… and to rest in His Heart!

Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11: 28)

Our lives are characterised by innumerable occasions when we feel tired and exhausted and just to give up….
… Those doing their studies often feel the burden of their academics and say, “Oh, I am fed up of this!”
… Those doing household chores at times feel unrewarded and unrecognised and say, “Oh, it’s a daily burden!”
… Those into works of livelihood sometimes struggle with pressures and deadlines and say, “Oh, I am really tired of all this!”
… Those in positions of caretaking others, often strain against temperaments and characters and say, “Oh, I feel so tired”
… Those who are surrounded by evil tendencies, bad habits and sinful cravings say, “Oh, I am I feel so weary!”

Each of us, at some time or the other…in some situation or the other…
… do feel the burden of being tired, weary and exhausted.


You feel life sometimes is a great struggle, isn’t it?
You often have thoughts like, “Why is my life so pitiable,” isn’t it?
You tend to think that “I wish all this was not there in my life,” isn’t it?
You have feelings that you are unlucky in life and “I have nothing to look forward,” isn’t it?

To each of us then, Our Gentle Lord invites: “Come my Child…. and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28)

Jesus says: “Take My yoke upon you…” (Mt 10: 29)

The instant reaction to this sentence, to us who are already overburdened, might be…
… “Oh No! Why another yoke?”
… “I already have a yoke; why should I carry the Lord’s yoke?”

We need to understand the concept of a “yoke”, especially from the Jewish society.

‘Yoke’ is a bar of wood, so made as to unite two animals (usually oxen)…
… enabling them to work in the fields, drawing heavy loads and pulling instruments used for farming.

Farmers would ‘yoke’ the young ox with the old experienced ox to train them.

The old ox would take the major load and the young one would be walking along and learning.
… The burden of the young one is reduced and the older one takes over the weight of the work!

The Yoke, helps the young one…
… to reduce its burden
… to feel that it is in perfect control of the elder one
… to feel urged to do more, as its efforts are doubled by the elder one

This is the picture of the ‘yoke’ that Jesus presents…
… Yoke as a symbol of partnership
… Yoke as a symbol of control
… Yoke as a symbol of relief
… Yoke as a symbol of hope

When we take the “yoke” of Christ…
… He Strengthens us
… Our burdens are no longer ours; He takes over
… We find a meaning for our lives and we feel refreshed
… We feel urged to do more in life as the Lord blesses our efforts

Prophet Zechariah mirrors the emotions of the one who trusts in the Lord and finds strength in God: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is He…!” (Zech 9:9)

St Paul reminds us to live not by the flesh, but by the Spirit…
… and thus to prioritize God in our every activity

“So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom 8:12-13)

Are we ready to take the “Yoke” of Christ?

It means that we ought to build a relationship with the Lord…

It means that as disciples, we are willing to accept the “yoke” of our Rabbi and Master Jesus
Life might be harsh on us….
But the Lord invites us, “Come to me, and I will give you rest… Take my yoke”

We need to be in the presence of the Lord – growing more in prayer and trust in Him.

Often we run to other sources for comfort and pleasure, to relieve ourselves from our burdens…
… sinful addictions
… unpleasant habits
… unholy sources of pleasure

But the Lord says, to instead present ourselves to Him, at every moment…

Especially in our moments of burden and hardships
… and receive strength and rest from Him!

When we lean on to the Lord, He gives us His rest and consolation

When we are faithful to our relationship with Him, He strengthens us and comforts us!

Let us read the Word of God daily to find strength

Let us spend time with the Lord in prayer every day without fail
Let us worthily receive the Sacraments to experience His Living Presence

Yes, Life may be playing a “joke” on us by straining us with burdens and hardships…

But let the “Yoke” of Christ give us rest, hope, strength and joy
… and let us hear the Good Shepherd telling us in our moments of struggle, “My Child, it’s Jesus!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “By turning your eyes on God in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with God.

Begin all your prayers in the presence of God!”

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