When we hear the word â€œyokeâ€, there are just a few images that come to mind: the inside of an egg (of course, the spelling is a bit different); but a kind of wooden beam, as on an ox attached to a plow or on a slave to show his defeat & captivity.Â And we have heard this term in that context of slavery within the New Testament havenâ€™t we?Â â€œDo not put upon yourselves the yoke of slavery for a second timeâ€¦â€ says St. Paul to the people of Galatia.Â And in todayâ€™s gospel we hear it again, only this time we are invited to bear a yoke, to let it be placed upon us, as if we would become owned by something.Â This calls to mind the season weâ€™re inâ€¦the season for weddings!Â No not of being owned or enslaved, but something quite different!
Consider the word â€œyokeâ€ again: it infers a kind of bondage, but in this context it implies a bondage with anotherâ€¦to be coupled, to be united as part of a pair.Â In our gospelâ€™s context, Christâ€”the one who frees us from slavery and bondage to sin or temptationâ€”is now inviting us to be paired with Him, coupled with Him in a new bond.Â And in this bond we no longer find ourselves alone or isolated, but rather we are joined with him and no longer belong to ourselves alone.Â Our being yoked with Christ now brings about the new plan of the Father, a plan of redemption.Â Jesus doesnâ€™t impose it upon us however, he invites usâ€”in freedom and full knowledgeâ€”to come to Him who is gentle and filled with compassionate love, to cleave to him as a lover with a beloved.
And considering again this season for weddings, from the word â€œyokeâ€ comes the Greek word for â€œspouseâ€ being bound by choice as a result of a proposal.Â Today, Christ proposes to us: He asks that we enter into a covenant of love with Him, of humilityÂ and gentlenessâ€¦that with Him we can become so deeply united that neither of us will ever be alone, that the Fatherâ€™s plan for our redemption can be brought to fulfillment, that we mayâ€”in Himâ€”find rest for ourselves.
Yes, the One who says he is nothing, but instead receives all that He is from the Fatherâ€™s gracious love, invites us and proposes to usâ€¦that we do the same.Â That we acknowledge our whole being is Godâ€™s blessing to usâ€¦and return to Him by clinging to His only Son.
May Christ encourage you, may you accept His proposal to enter into life with Him, this day and always.
God love you.