Thursday of the 15th Week in Ordinary Time

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.

“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,” said Father Jerry, “Esther put out a call for 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 kids in the parish befriended the children and made them part of the life of their school. Business owners and professionals use their contacts to find work for the father. A group of moms reached out to the mother to help her make her way in this new community. Other parishioners collected warm clothing for the family who arrived with a few personal possessions. For the first few weeks, families took turns preparing supper for them.”

Everyone in the parish, in his or her own way, welcome that family with whatever skills and resources they had. These parishioners took on the yoke of Jesus. In Palestine, yolks 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 ‘fitted 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,” says Father Jerry, “every member of the host 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. It’s burden is the humility and selflessness to use what we have in the humble, generous spirit of Jesus the servant.”

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