This gospel passage speaks to everyone of us. For who among us has not felt overburdened about one thing or another? All of us have experienced being tired of work, of a particular problem, of a heavy trial, and of our sins. If only we could, we would run away from all of these. Christ today comes to our help by inviting us to approach him for he is the answer to the heavy yoke we carry. He does not say, “I will take away your yoke.” Instead he says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke…” And he promises rest for our souls. How could Christ’s yoke be easy? When we imagine Christ’s yoke, we usually think of the cross he carried which does not seem light and easy. The image that Christ uses is paradoxical but true. It is wisdom for the simple.
When Christ teaches us how to pray, he tells us to ask for our daily bread. Our daily bread is everything we need each day, whether physical or spiritual. Every kind of grace we receive is exactly what we need to become more united to Christ. One daily bread is the daily cross Christ provides for us. Why is it our daily bread? It is our daily bread because in our daily cross we meet Christ. We can become one with him as long as we answer his call to come to him. The weight of our cross can crush us, but if we draw near Christ when we are experiencing a burden, he will make it light for us. Often our burdens are unbearable because we resist them. It is this resistance that makes our travails heavy. But if we learn from Christ who did not resist the passion prepared for him by his Father, we will find our crosses easy and light to bear. After his agony in Gethsemane, when he finally accepted to enter into the will of the Father, Jesus entered into his passion and death with deep serenity and majesty. The battle was already won on that night of intense prayer and supplication. The prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading is fulfilled in Christ. “He strengthens the powerless…those who hope in Yahweh renew their strength.” For the cross is the power of God. As St. Paul said, “It is when I am weak that I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).