And I will give you rest…
St. Augustine in his famous passage from Confession states “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” That is the truth connected to today’s gospel. The gospel is very clear: Jesus is the solution for those who are suffering.
First, the reality mentioned in the gospel: Life can certainly become burdensome at times. Anyone (sometimes us) who labor and is burdened… needs some rest or someone who can help them. The meaning of the word burden is: a weight which is carried only with difficulty. Yet for most of us, a burden is a bit more personal than that. Our burden could be the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, an addiction, an illness, problems at home or problems at work. For each of us, it is something different. The joy of the gospel is that Jesus will help. It doesn’t matter what burden you carry, Jesus will give you rest. How? Through presence and witness.
No matter what suffering or struggle you have, you never suffer alone. Whether you see or feel it, Jesus is with you. His presence is not the presence of someone with sympathy or compassion, but the presence of someone who has suffered what you suffer because no human sorrow is alien to him.
He also teaches us “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” The burdens of the world do not disappear but Jesus teaches us to carry then in a different way with meekness and humility of heart. It is when we embrace our burdens that we overcome them.
Secondly, besides the wearying things of this world there is another thing, our desire for tranquility and peace that will last. Even though we can overcome many thing that burden us in this world, there will always will be another one, and another one. It is only in God and our total surrender to Him and His will, that we will find peace because our nature without knowing looks for him in every single action.
For that very reason, Jesus’ invitation makes a lot of sense: Come to me all of you who labor and are burdened…and I will give you rest… The gospel offers a solution for the tired and burdened world and burdened… and that solution is Jesus. For that reason, when we preach the gospel, we not only preach a doctrine but a way of life in which Jesus offers a solution to the problem of humanity.