Defining the Yoke
Malvern Minute


December 13, 2017   Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (11:28-30)

Jesus said to the crowds:
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.”

Reflect: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. On the one hand, the idea of being “yoked” is not too inviting; it seems like that’s something necessary for work animals. On the other hand, if the Savior of the world is asking us to be “yoked” to him, maybe we should pay attention. By accepting the yoke of Jesus we demonstrate to him our desire to be docile, to let him take the lead in our lives. Often our desire for independence and asserting our free will rebukes that idea. However, reflecting on today’s first reading from the Prophet Isaiah (chapter 40) might help us to reconsider: “Do you not know or have you not heard? The LORD is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint nor grow weary, and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny. He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak he makes vigor abound. Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” During Advent as we prepare to welcome Jesus into our lives in a new way, he wants us to understand that he doesn’t want to take away our free will; however, he does want to renew us, strengthen us, and empower us to be ready to face the challenges of the world and to be strong witnesses (disciples) of his love and mercy to others. Jesus makes all things new. He even redefines the meaning of “yoke”.  May we trust him and walk confidently in this Good News!

Questions: Is my heart disposed to be “yoked” to Jesus in all things? Where do I find myself rebellious to Jesus’ invitation? What personal characteristics might I need to put at the feet of Jesus this Advent so that my life might truly flourish?

Pray: Loving God, help me to trust you and believe beyond doubt that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Take away rebelliousness from my heart so that I might be free to love you without reserve so that I might neither grow weary nor faint, but that I might be a tireless instrument of your love and mercy to all that I meet. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.                                                                                       

Saint Lucy: Pray for us!

Saint Lucy was a virgin martyred for her faith at Syracuse in Sicily around the year 303. Her name “Lucia” means “light.” Portrayals of her often show her holding her eyes in a plate, most likely indicating the kind of torture she endured. She is considered a special intercessor for people experiencing eye diseases. The impact of her luminous witness is demonstrated by her huge following found throughout Europe by the 5th century. Her feast is still widely celebrated in Scandinavia. She is mentioned in the Roman Canon. Lucy is the patroness of Syracuse and all of Sicily.


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