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In today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” We need to hear very often these gentle and comforting words from Jesus often, especially during these challenging times. When Jesus says, “My yoke is light,” He means that whatever God sends us is made to fit our needs and our sizes exactly. A better way of understanding the yoke of Christ is that usually the yoke was put on the necks of two cattle, so that the cattle could work together as a team and not be hurt by carrying the burden alone.

When Jesus asks us to take the yoke, we might ask: “Who is my yoke-mate?” Our yoke mate is none other than Jesus himself. The yoke belongs to Jesus and Jesus invites us to team up with Him. In the way that cattle support one another by pulling together, we, too, can invite Jesus to be our yoke mate. If Jesus is in our lives, the heavy burden we carry is lightened. Our destiny is linked with Jesus’ destiny. Our identity is connected with Jesus’ identity. Our vision and our mission can be united with Jesus’ vision, and mission. It is important to know that we are not pulling the yoke alone and by our own power but together with Christ and the strength that comes from Christ.

Let me share with you a small story: A psychology professor walked in the class room and began to teach a lesson about stress management. He raised a glass of water, and asked the students, “How heavy is this glass of water?” The students gave different answers. The professor replied, “The absolute weight does not matter. It depends on how long I hold this glass. If I hold it for a minute, it is not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, my hand will begin to ache. If I hold it for a day my hand will become numb and paralyzed. Each time, the weight of the glass does not change, but the longer I hold the glass, it feels heavier in my hand.” The professor continued, “The stresses and worries in our lives are very much like this glass of water. If we are holding our stresses and worries for a long time the pain and hurt will prevent us from being able to do anything. So, let us try to let it go and put our heavy burdens down.”

Let us ask ourselves: What we do with our own heavy loads of fears, worries, and anxieties? Let us put down all our unnecessary heavy burdens, worries, concerns, and fears and allow Jesus to carry them with us. Because Jesus cares for each of us, we can rest and relax as we learn to trust in Him. Instead of carrying the unnecessary burdens that weight us down and weary us, we can give them to God and God can do what is best for us! Let us unload the burdens of our sins and worries during our personal prayers and the Holy Eucharist and let us have deep relationships with Jesus.

We should never forget that we are yoked with Christ! Let us start each day with a prayer like this: “Lord, help me to remember that there is no problem I am going to face today that You and I cannot handle together.” This is how the yoke becomes easy and the burden light!

Today, in our country, we are celebrating Independence Day: the birthday of our country. We are celebrating the freedom of life, the freedom of liberty, and the freedom of the pursuit of happiness. One of our Founding Fathers said, “The freedom we celebrate in this nation is a gift, but it is not a freedom that “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.” Rather, true freedom comes from choosing to follow the laws and rules of our country and receiving the grace granted to us through Christ.”

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.