“Come to me all you who labor… Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” – Matthew 11:28-29
“Come all you who labor” – I have seen these words practically my entire life every Sunday, etched into the stained glass at my parish, Sacred Heart in Altadena. They rest underneath a grand image of Jesus and two angels at the front of our church. I would often mouth them without any understanding.
Even now as I’m older, the lines in today’s Gospel still puzzle me. How can Jesus give me rest, especially by my taking on a yoke that also includes being meek? The word “meek” has always had a negative connotation for me: shy, nervous, cowardly, and so forth. Webster’s dictionary defines it as mild; submissive; moderate. Great. This is not helping, when on the one hand I’m concerned about all the events surrounding Ferguson, the recent downtown fire… my own challenges with work and relationships. How is being meek going to help anything get better?
However, the original Greek word πραΰς (praus) conveys a more gentle, patient nature, more specifically “demonstrating power without undue harshness.” It begins to come together. As Jesus invites, “Take my yolk upon you,” it’s not to try to escape my daily situations, but rather to approach them in a different way. A pathway of gentleness and openness towards others - and myself – that makes space to see and value how Jesus is so much already present, waiting to surface. Waiting to break through. It makes me wonder, is it me waiting for Jesus, or is it really Jesus waiting for me?
Lord, how are you inviting me to look at my life differently during this Advent season? Help me to see through the eyes of Your heart.
Reflected by Quyen (Nhi) Ngo