By: Bernadette Parrott
Welcome to our Faith Renewal Series that is exploring The ABCs of Being Catholic. We are invited on a journey through the alphabet to explore Catholic terms, beliefs, and traditions. In this post we focus on the letter “Y”.
August 30, 2021
A yoke is a wooden frame used to join two oxen together, so they act as a team.
There are references in the bible to this term.
In Genesis 27:40 we find “when you win your freedom, you shall shake his yoke from your neck”. Here, we find the story of Isaac, Jacob and Esau. We find a father and two sons. A father, unable to offer a second blessing, a son who stole a blessing, and a son who held hatred in heart for a denial of a blessing due to him. Yet, we are reminded, that even in moments of despair, anger, hatred, we can shed the yoke that weighs us down and we can find rest in Jesus.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Christ assures the faithful “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.”
I can just imagine Jesus speaking to a crowd, as oxen were working in the background. Certainly, our lives can seem to be burdensome. We can feel as though we cannot continue on, we can feel overwhelmed, tired, anxious, angry, sad. It’s in these times, that Jesus invites us to remove that yoke, to surrender it, and take on the one offered by Him – one where we find joy, relief from the anguish of burdens. It takes courage and faith to surrender to Jesus. The great joy that comes from this surrender is the gift He offers to us.
I guess it comes down to freedom. We are of course called to follow Jesus and with that call comes great responsibility. The differences in yokes that we choose to bear comes down to our decision, do I want to carry a yoke which weighs me down, which oppresses me, or do I wish to wear the yoke of Christ – light, easy, because just as Simon helped Jesus carry His Cross, so does Jesus carry the weight of our yoke.