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Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Lord offers to relieve our burdens: “Take my yoke upon you . . . and you will find rest for yourselves.” Jesus almost always speaks in paradoxes, and this is another one. “I will put a yoke on you.” Now, if I am burdened, the last thing I want is a yoke that will make my life more burdensome.

But here’s the paradox: What is it that makes our lives heavy and weighed down? Precisely the burden of our own egos, the weight of one’s own self. When I am puffing myself up with my own self-importance, I’m laboring under all that weight. Jesus is saying, “Become a child. Take that weight off your shoulders and put on the weight of my yoke of my obedience to the Father.”

Here’s how it works: If you have two animals yoked together when they’re both pulling, they are doing each other’s work. Jesus is saying that if your life is heavy and burdensome, it’s probably because you are caught up under the weight of your own sense of self-sufficiency. Get rid of that and take the yoke of Christ’s obedience upon your shoulders. Allow yourself to be led.