Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11:28-30 is some of the most comforting in Scripture:
"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."
The retreat house I worked at had an oxen yoke that had been turned into a light fixture. It sounds odd, but it worked with the space. Being a city girl, I know next to nothing about farming, but I do know that an oxen yoke is not a light thing to carry around. No wonder an ox is known as a beast of burden.
Today Jesus tells us to take his yoke because it is easy and light. I know to many who don't know Christ or have issues with the Catholic Church this seems like an oxymoronic statement. I've heard many people say that following God's Law robs you from living life - or something along those lines. The Church's teachings on abortion, natural family planning, marriage, and natural death are archaic. I heartily disagree.
The yoke that the world, the culture wants to put on me robs me of my dignity. In movies and TV is it rare to see happily married couples. In the few instances where a happily married couple is portrayed, it's all an act or they're as dumb as a box of rocks! The examples for young people are appalling and I could go on and on, but how is that useful?
Here's the truth: God is love and this love does not bind me or control me. Rather, it frees me to pursue my truest self, not an culturally imposed definition of who I ought to be. Love that frees, now that is one light yoke.