“For my yoke is easy, and my burden light ” – from Jesus’ words in our gospel passage this weekend.
The art of making a good yoke was to fashion it so as to fit the neck of each ox just right…not too loose that it moved around and chafed the animal…not so tight that it pinched and made the animal sore. From his carpenter days, Jesus knew how to make a yoke for a team of oxen. He would have measured the animal and tried the yoke several times as he fashioned it. A young ox was often joined in the yoke with an older, more-experienced animal. In this way, the younger one learned the right pace and manner of working.
When Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon our shoulders, he wants to get work out of us…the particular mission given to each Christian. He wants to fashion the yoke that will be just right for each person. He doesn’t leave us alone to do the work. He is the other experienced “ox” who will accompany us, do the major share of the work , and teach us how to do our part. On our part, it takes humility to accept being yoked with Jesus. The “wise and the learned” may tend to trust too much in their own wisdom and intelligence and, thus, not seek the Lords’ guidance.