Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 30, 2019
Today, in Mercy, the symbols of yokes and plows shout out across our readings. Again, we are dealing with metaphors not in everyday usage for most of us. But those listening to Elijah, Paul, and Jesus absorbed the symbolism easily.
The yoke has connotations of subservience and toiling; in some ancient cultures it was traditional to force a vanquished enemy to pass beneath a symbolic yoke of Spears or swords.The yoke may be a metaphor for something oppressive or burdensome, such as feudalism or totalitarianism. (Wikipedia)
The writer of Kings has fiery Elijah engaged in one of his several highly dramatic episodes. What a scene, right? But what is the point for us?
The point is the same in all three readings: yoke=commitment. Each of our writers is talking about a further understanding of the word “yoke” —a freely chosen commitment made, by grace, for Love.
Sometimes, as in Kings, we need to break an enslavement in order to commit to something life-giving, such as Elisha’s call to follow Elijah.
Other times, as in Galatians, we must remind ourselves of the freedom and power we have chosen by breaking the old yokes that bound us.
In our Gospel, Jesus acknowledges the cost of a commitment to his Way. He has already told us in Matthew 11:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Today, in Luke, Jesus doubles down on his invitation /challenge to follow him:
No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind
is fit for the kingdom of God.
The question left for our prayer today? Is my heart fully yoked to the heart Christ? Is my hand firmly grasping the plow?
Music: My Yoke is Easy – Dennis Jernigan