Rest for the Weary
As I write this reflection on Wednesday evening, ballots are still being counted and no winner in our Presidential election is apparent. Friends and family are reaching out and asking for my “take” as I am the resident political scientist (okay, an undergrad degree, but I can still talk your ear off about polling data and the implications of electoral college scenarios and faithless electors). Surrounding this is the dramatic rise in COVID numbers in Illinois and elsewhere around the country and the normal stress of a hectic job in ministry. There is a weariness to me today.
It is a refrain I hear from so many others. An almost physical drag working to mire us down. We each are struggling with the normal and the extraordinary burdens of daily life. Our minds and emotions are tumultuous. These days with all their stress and chaos are not done. Even when the worst of these days, the election and the pandemic, pass we are still left with the injustices of the world crying out for us, the voices of friends and family calling to us, vocations and jobs demanding our presence. There is always going to be more to do. It brings a weariness.
I can’t help but turn to one of my favorite parts of the Gospel:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
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.”
At first it seems like Jesus is placing more upon us. Thankfully, I went to college with some agricultural students who taught this suburban raised, now city dweller something. A pair of oxen or other pair of work animals is closely matched in strength, but it is nearly impossible for a perfect match. One is stronger than the other. One has a lighter burden.
Jesus is reminding us that he is carrying the heavier burden. Even more important, he is yoking himself to us – walking with us. When we are weary, when we are burdened, we often feel desperately isolated and alone. Jesus is there with you. We were reminded in Sunday’s reflection that we do not have to be perfect to be blessed, today I want to remind us all we do not carry our burdens alone.
What I like most about this passage is that line – “you will find rest for yourselves.” The translation above is the one we use most at Mass in the Catholic Church. Another good translation is the NRSV which translates that as “you will find rest for souls.” We may remain weary in body, even in mind, but Jesus reminds us that in him we will find that deep rest for our souls. We still carry our burdens, but not alone. We may still have days of bone aching weariness, but in Jesus we can find rest for our souls.
May you find the rest you need today. May you find rest for your soul.