One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

July 19, 2006

For Thursday of the Fifteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 11:28-30

The three verses of today’s Gospel are among the most appealing in the whole Gospel.
Christ invites us to rest and ease.
However, we hear the words of Christ today out of context.
As it is, today we have only the second half of the Lord’s explanation of his “yoke”.
We heard the first half of his explanation yesterday.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

The restful, easy and light “yoke” that Christ invites us to receive is Christ’s own intimate knowledge of the Father, Christ’s own intimate communion with the Father.
The word “yoke” both in English and in the original language of the Gospel goes back to the ancient mother-language of India and Europe.
Its root meaning is UNION, UNITY, COMMUNION.
A yoke is a collar that UNITES or JOINS one or more animals to a plow or a wagon.
It is strange that our Lord invites us to labor under a yoke in order to find rest.
Come to me,
all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.

We readily understand that we can find rest and ease in intimate knowledge of the Father and intimate communion with him.
However, getting there is labor.
Coming to the Father through Christ is work.
Our temptations, our sins and our sinfulness make for labor and a heavy burden.
Temptation and our sins make war against our knowledge of the Father and against our union with the Father.
Today Christ offers us a yoke that he says is easy and light.
Yesterday he told us that knowledge of the Father is that yoke.
The day before yesterday, he told us that repentance opens the way for us to know the Father Christ.
Christ’s own knowledge of the Father and Christ’s own communion with the Father brought him to the yoke, plow and wagon of suffering, crucifixion and death.
Only after having labored under such a heavy burden did he arrive at the lightsome glory of the resurrection.
Even then he spoke of knowledge and communion with the Father.
I am ascending to my Father and your Father.

In the end the yoke of Christ gives ease, rest and light.
The way there is the way of the cross.
Today Christ tells us how to suffer the labor of the cross.
Learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart.

Christ’s meekness and humble heart, his self-sacrificing labor, the forgiveness of our sins, knowledge of Christ’s Father, communion with Christ’s Father, reconciliation with Christ’s Father— we receive this yoke in the Eucharist.
my body
my blood
given up for you
shed for you
that sins may be forgiven

That God Be Glorified in All


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