“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

An Advent Reflection on the Scripture Readings at Mass

Life can be a challenge in the best of times, especially in a culture that constantly presents a message that undercuts the truth, goodness, and beauty of God’s design for creation. “Keeping up with the Joneses” can be exhausting. We end up sacrificing what matters (God, family, and the sanctifying nature of work) for that which is intended to support what matters (job and career). But in our uncertain economy where both job security and retirement security are jeopardized, our priorities can really get out of sorts.

When we drift away from God’s plan for our life, we sin. Sin carries a burden that enslaves us and robs us of ourself. And then, too often, we think we can fix it all alone, without God’s help, or the help of anyone else.

In our faith life, our priorities and even our understanding can also become clouded by sin and doubt. And when we begin to recognize the need to turn back to God, we might even wonder if he loves us enough or if we are beyond his love. Will he take me back? Am I truly forgiven?

Jesus answers these questions in this passage, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The Lord tells us there is a better way — God’s plan. The Gospel can liberate you from life’s burdens. The Gospel can save you from sin and put you to work on the right path. The challenges will still confront you, but with the Lord at your side, with your permission, you can take on the world with courage and joy.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Image credit: “Christ the Consolator” (detail) by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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