Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 11, 28-30

'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.

Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Before his eyes, Jesus sees a large crowd of poor and weak people; it was a crowd of “the little ones.” They are tired and helpless people, like sheep without a shepherd. Many times, the Gospels highlight Jesus’ compassion for them and note that often it is Jesus himself who goes towards them, who intermixes with them, and who “wastes time” with them. Yet, in this particularly solemn moment, he calls them to himself: “Come to me.” He sees them not only suffer under the difficulty and heaviness of their living conditions, but also from the weight of the ritual forms prescribed and imposed on them from the Pharisees, who know neither mercy nor love. These prescriptions weighed heavily on the shoulders of these “little ones,” as if it was the heavy and knotty yoke farmers impose on draft animals. The Law had been given for salvation and for life (Ez 20:13), but it was transformed into an insupportable burden of innumerable minute prescriptions that no one, not even the doctors of the law, lived. Moved by these large crowds, Jesus now calls them to him and promises comforting: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” It is the rest and a comfort of one who came to serve, to help, to love, and to save - not to look out for his own gain. In contrast to the “burden” of the Pharisees, Jesus proposes his own type of burden, which is “easy and light.” It is easy to carry, not because it is not demanding; on the contrary, Jesus proposes a high ideal and preaches a Gospel that asks for a radical way of making choices and of total dedication of life. However, this “yoke” is light because it is truly close to men and women; as Jesus himself is close to people, to the little ones, and to the weak. He uses himself as a model and says, “Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart.” Jesus’ yoke is none other than himself and his Gospel. Therefore, it is not an external weight to be laid on our shoulders, as if we were draft animals. The yoke is Jesus who comes close to us, walks with us and supports us in every moment of our lives; it is the Gospel of love that Jesus puts into our very hearts. John, the disciple of love, in his first letter wrote, “And his commandments are not burdensome” (5:3). Indeed, the love of Jesus is what saves and sustains us.