Today’s reflection is another spiritual lesson from Fr. Michael Schleupner. Fr. Mike will be with us in August for our Directed Retreat and we look forward to welcoming him back to the Center. Let’s take a few quiet moments to reflect on this lesson from scripture.

The Yoke Is Easy

In Jesus’ day, they did not have John Deere tractors to plow their fields. Instead, a pair of oxen would pull the plow. To do this, there was something called a yoke. This was a wooden collar that fit around the neck of the oxen, linked them together, and then connected them to the plow. The yoke had to fit just right or else it would hurt the oxen and sap their strength.

This is the image Jesus has in mind in today’s gospel when he says: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The yoke that Jesus speaks of is his way – his way for our lives. And Jesus says that his “yoke is easy and [his] burden is light.”

Is that really true? Is Jesus’ way really easier than other ways? Maybe the best way to answer this is by comparison.

For example, do we really think that a dog-eat-dog approach in the workplace is really easier than a more respectful and team-like style?

Another example: are we better off emotionally by holding onto feelings of resentment and vengeance rather than forgiving someone?

One more example: does racial or any kind of prejudice expand me as a person, or am I bigger as a person when I am open and inclusive and try to understand others?

Think about these alternatives today.

If we try Jesus’ yoke, we just might find that it contributes much more to our happiness in the long run and may even be easier and lighter in the short run of life.

~Father Michael Schleupner