Pastor’s Weekly Message 7-9-23

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
After several weeks of hearing about the difficulties we can expect from a life of discipleship, Jesus has welcome words of comfort and consolation in today’s Gospel. Jesus welcomes all who are tired, overwhelmed, and overloaded to come to find a unique kind of rest in Him. We are reminded that while suffering will be part of our lives, it is not of God, and it is not God’ will for us. It is merely a side effect of living in our wounded, imperfect world.
When is the last time you felt completely rested? If you are like me, maybe too long ago for it to be a clear memory! Our modern world does not prioritize rest and rejuvenation. Work is a high priority, and even in our supposed leisure time, there is pressure to fill this time with activities, social obligations, and domestic chores. To take time to rest can feel lazy or uninspired. But Jesus knows that body, mind, and soul all require care and attention to meet the demands of discipleship.
Last week Jesus instructed us to take up our cross and follow Him. Today he invites us to be yoked with Him. For the people of Jesus’ time, the yoke was a familiar piece of farming equipment. It is a wooden frame, designed to be fitted over the necks of two oxen or horses to evenly distribute the weight of the load they are to pull. When yoked, two animals are effectively kept in step with one another, and the weight they are able to pull is exponentially increased. Carpenters who made these yokes in Jesus’ time (likely including Jesus Himself)  paid great attention to creating a comfortable fit for the individual animals’ neck muscles to maximize their pulling potential and longevity. Jesus promises us that His yoke is easy.

When we learn humility and meekness from Him, we also realize that the ego-driven and fear-driven pressures of the world are just that. We are invited to rest – to recover our strength and sense of purpose –  to make our work more effective and sustainable. The load Jesus asks us to carry is light because we are never pulling alone. Even when we feel alone, Jesus is yoked beside us, ready to shoulder whatever we cannot. He will even to carry the whole load so we have an opportunity for transformative rest.
I wish you and your loved ones continued blessings of good health, great hope, and true rest,
Fr. Paul

Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.
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