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Sunday, July 3, 2011

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14th Sunday Ordinary Time

Zechariah 9:9-10
Romans 8:9, 11-13
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
Matthew 11:25-30

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the yoke's on you

"Take My yoke upon your shoulders and learn from Me...My yoke is easy and My burden light." —Matthew 11:29, 30

A yoke is a piece of wood or metal placed over the necks of two animals walking side-by-side. It keeps them in line when plowing a field. The yoke changes independence into dependence. The two animals must depend on each other to save their own neck. If one of the animals balks, or runs ahead or sideways, both get a stiff neck.

In the USA, we celebrate Independence Day tomorrow. We are culturally conditioned to desire independence rather than dependence. We want to do our own thing, not go where someone forces us to go. When we're in a yoke, we're not independent. In His mercy, Jesus does not relieve us of His yoke, but instead slips our yoke upon His own neck and plows the straight line with us (see Lk 9:62). No wonder Jesus' yoke is not heavy (Mt 11:29); Jesus our Strength (Phil 4:13) is bearing it with us.

When wearing Jesus' yoke, we can't just follow every whim and fancy, or we'll get a stiff neck. We'll be "stiff-necked people" like the Old Testament Israelites (Dt 9:6). We can't follow the ways of the flesh, for Jesus isn't walking that way (Rm 8:7-8). If we keep looking back, we can see why we're not fit for the kingdom of God (Lk 9:62); we'd have such a sore neck that we'd be of little use to the Lord. So take Jesus' yoke, learn from Him, and follow His footsteps (Lk 9:23).

Prayer:  Jesus, I am Your slave (Col 3:24). Yet You love me so much You walk with me. I pledge my life to serve You.

Promise:  "If by the Spirit you put to death the evil deeds of the body, you will live." —Rm 8:13

Praise:  Alleluia! By faith in Jesus risen, we will live forever in the perfect happiness of heaven!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011

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