Scripture Readings: Zechariah 9:9-10; Romans 8:9-13; Matthew 11:25-30
A few years ago, a parish was asked to help resettle a family that had fled Cambodia and had come to begin new lives in the United States.
The Pastor put out a call to help and everyone in the parish responded. One parishioner, a real-estate agent, found an apartment that was large enough and that the family could afford. A lawyer offered his help dealing with the many legal and bureaucratic issues they faced. The children in the parish befriended the children and made them part of the life of the school. Business owners and professionals used their contacts to find work for the father. A group of moms reached out to the mother to help her make her way in their new community. Other parishioners collected warm clothing for the family, who arrived with few personal possessions. For the first few weeks, families took turns preparing supper for the family. One elderly, homebound parishioner wanted to do her part as well, so every week she baked some kind of treat for the family’s Sunday dinner.
Everyone in the parish, in his or her own way, welcomed the family. Parishioners offered whatever they had – be it professional contacts, food, clothing, or simple hospitality – to make this family, who has been through so much, a part of their larger Parish family.
These Parishioners with whatever skills and resources they had, took on the “yoke” of Jesus. In the Middle East, ox yokes were custom made of wood, cut and measured to fit a particular animal. The Greek word that we translate as “easy” in today’s Gospel more accurately means, “fitting well.”
God does not ask of us what we do not have or cannot do, but to give what we can and do what we are able to do in a spirit of humility and gratitude.
In offering what they had to help this Cambodian family, every member of that Parish took on the “yoke” and “burden” of Christ: A “yoke” that is light and easy in that it demands no more from us than what we are capable of doing and giving and its “burden” is the humility and selflessness to use what we have in the humble, generous spirit of Jesus the servant.