7/20/2023 (Thursday) Today’s gospel reading: Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
7/20/2023 (Thursday) Today’s gospel reflection: Matthew 11:28-30
If we follow the whole passage of the gospel of Matthew in chapter 11, we would say that the gospel reading above is a wonderful conclusion. It is a revelation of who Jesus is – the comforter of the tired and oppressed. We have learned in Matthew 11:25-27, Jesus showed how intimate He is with the Father and that anyone whom He wishes will come to know who He is. Furthermore, it is to the little ones that God has easily revealed Himself.
Now in the gospel passage above, Jesus is inviting those who labor and burdened to come Him and He will give them rest. We can spot the connection of the “little ones” to those “who labor and burdened”. We can refer to them as the marginalized sector of society. During the time of Jesus, most of the people were farmers and fishermen. Jesus speaks about yoke, a piece of wood placed on animals as they work in the farm. His audience, composed most probably of farmers, relates well with the term. It is a metaphor for hard work and servitude. Thus, Jesus was practically telling this “little ones” to come to Him and they will find liberation or freedom from their slavery.
Let us recall how Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His time for “they tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as their finger. (Matthew 23:4)” In the gospel passage above, Jesus is contrasting Himself with the Pharisees and scribes. He is offering Himself as the solution to oppression which is more often caused by ignorance. If we acquire true wisdom and learn humility from Jesus, freedom is achieved.
Oppression is still found all over the world and the little ones, particularly the farmers and fishermen, are the victims. Generally, these little ones lack education and therefore they lack awareness of what causes them to be oppressed and the solution to end their sorry state of being. It is high time that they know Jesus. It is high time that they be freed from their heavy yoke. Who can help them?