Thursday of the 15th Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus offers an attractive offer in today’s gospel: “my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”  If we are worn out, we will be given rest.  If we are seeking wisdom, we have in Him a teacher we can go to, because He is “meek and humble of heart.”  His mastery will be gentle, and not serve to aggrandize Himself.  The burdens we are given to carry will be perfectly suited to our strengths and weaknesses.  It is a wonder that more people don’t take Jesus up on this spectacular offer.  But like every offer, this one has its price.

If we take Jesus up on His offer of rest, we cannot claim credit.  Isaiah praises God in the first reading, saying that “the path of the just You make level.”  The path is not level because we wore it down with the grit and determination worthy of any American frontiersman, but because God smoothed it over before we even arrived.  This goes starkly against the “American dream,” the ideal of the self-made people who lift themselves up by their bootstraps without help.  As with the childlike ones we saw yesterday, we see today that to be a disciple of Christ is to realize that we were never the masters of our own destiny.

July 17th, 2014