"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
In yesterday's Gospel we heard, "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him," (Mt. 11:27). Some people see in that verse the idea that Jesus has only selected a few to come to know God. But as He continues in today's Gospel, we hear Him issue the call to "all". It isn't that Jesus is selective, it's just that there are unfortunately many who will refuse to hear His call.
The Gospel is seen so clearly here. God comes to us incarnated in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He issues His invitation to everyone with the promise that whoever comes to Him will truly find rest.
We all labor and are heavy burdened. We labor to free ourselves from our burdens. But they can really only be relieved by "the yoke" of our Lord. A yoke sounds heavy, but Jesus says His is light. That's because He's really the one carrying all the weight. But the key to all of this is to truly come to Jesus.
Many times we think we come to Him, but we are really still keeping Him at arm's length. The truth is that we are still laboring all the while using language that makes it sound as if we are resting in Christ. To come to Jesus requires the full abandonment of self. We can't hold anything back. He is asking for it all, and until He has it, we are left to labor on our own.
Jesus tells us that we must learn of Him. To be a Christian is not just to know about Jesus, but to know Him. It is to receive Him and to learn to allow Him to reproduce Himself in us. This is why He tells us He is meek and humble. It is to encourage us to come to Him, but it is also to show us the traits that we are to be imitating.
I hear Jesus call and I long to respond from the very depths of my being. But my old habits are so ingrained. I have labored for so long that I cannot grasp this idea of rest. I have spent a lifetime developing attitudes that are virtually the opposite of meekness and humility. Still, our Lord issues His call. If I will but listen and respond, then I will truly find rest; and so will all who take Him at His word, abandon themselves, and come to Jesus.