Today’s Gospel from Matthew is a short statement from Jesus that always has a powerful effect on me. Jesus invites the crowds, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” It is an invitation that I feel to the depth of my being at times when I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
The depth of Jesus’ desire that we accept that invitation is underscored by his image of the yoke. “Take my yoke upon you.” Jesus desires to yoke himself to us to help us push through, especially in difficult times.
Despite the constant invitation, our tendency in times of difficulty is to sink within ourselves to see only me and my challenges and difficulties. When the gaze is all on me and my difficulties, the burden can seem unbearably heavy. It can seem impossible to carry. It IS impossible to carry if I act as though I need to carry it on my own.
The words are an important reminder to us: We never carry any burden alone. And if I can let myself see Jesus in those moments when I feel overwhelmed and burdened, the burden becomes much lighter. If I can let myself be with Jesus, to rest in Jesus, I am refreshed and strengthened.
The invitation to come to God – to be refreshed and recharged, to be strengthened by him, is always on the table. It is for us to decide whether to accept the invitation.