Confusing Yokes

Ah HhaHhaa, thas a guud yoke!

Not that kind of yoke.

I’m having some thoughts and confusion on this. I brought it up to a friend, and said I may post about it.  I can’t reconcile, Matthew 11: 28-30;

 28 [a]“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,[b] and I will give you rest. 29 [c]Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

with Mathew 7:13:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.”

So if I am reading them correctly, they seem opposed to each other, don’t they?

We all know what the second one is, that temptation and sin and the world will put obstacles in our path, making it hard for us to get to heaven.  But what about the first, in the context of the second?

Well, I learned from the Lanky Guys that a “yoke” was a term for the summation of a rabbis teaching.  So in that sense, Jesus was saying that the burden put upon us as Christians is a lot easier than what the Pharisees would say.  But let’s be real, it’s very easy to sin and sin seriously.  So it doesn’t feel light to us slogging in the world!  So what is the deal? Augustine

Well, I am not sure.  I’m also not qualified to answer.  I found a sermon by St Augustine on it, but it still doesn’t fully fit the bill.  Talking about St Paul, so preachy, Augustine said that he endured many enumerated sufferings, but “in very deed the Holy Spirit was with him in the wasting of the outward man, to renew the inner man from day to day, and by the taste of spiritual rest in the affluence of the delights of God to soften down by the hope of future blessedness all present hardships, and to alleviate all heavy trials. ” 

In short, the way I read this is suffering here in light of going to heaven becomes easy.  Boom, done.  From a Father of the Church!

But hold on, Paul writes about his suffering!  He complained, he lost all the graces, right?  So, I thought maybe there is more to be found.  And maybe it will help me reconcile.

I had the honor of watching A Man for All Seasons with Tim S and Joseph.  All throughout the movie, More is confronted with the broad gate, and clings to the narrow way.  He stood up for God, and underwent hardship, and that yoke didn’t seem to be easy!  And he doesn’t rejoice in his suffering.  But he’s a saint!

Then I was brought to mind Jeremiah, the bullfrog.  Good friend of mine.  His famous line, “You duped me, Lord, and I let myself be duped!” Jeremiah 20:7, are a complaint of hardships!  The narrow way, not the easy yoke.  Then I thought of Ezekiel, who ate the scroll of the words of the Lord and it was like honey in his mouth, but bitter and upsetting to his stomach.  Again, that is not very yoke is easy.  I don’t even want to mention Job!

So, these are prophets, in the Bible, doing God’s will.  So did Augustine get it wrong?

No, of course not.  But I want to have a go at explaining it how I find it.  Recently, I have had to try to explain some of the doctrine and Dogma of the Catholic Church.  Some of the things that the Church says are very difficult, and if you are saying them you can come across as kind of an asshole, especially if you are a militant Templar and you are trying to retake Jerusalem.  But in that difficult teaching, there is Truth and Love.  Why?  Because God is Love and Truth, and it isn’t a human reality that you are saying but a Divine reality, if you really believe.

If you believe, a whipping will be like nothing.  If you believe, standing up to king of England is nothing.  If you believe, telling truthful doctrine in a loving way will be nothing.  For all the pits in our stomach, all the sweaty palms and racing hearts and Red faces, and yes, as we saw in Libya, mass beheading for being Christian, they are as nothing.  But WHY?

Because of another passage, Matthew 6:25-27
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? 27 Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?[a]

And then, John 14:25-27
25 “I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. 27 Peace[a] I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

I think these go together.  The yoke becomes easy if we let ourselves stop worrying, and trust in God, BECAUSE HE SAID SO!!!!

That is what makes all that stuff bearable.  If we cling to our human desires, and I know I do, then it is a lot harder!  But if we totally take His yoke, like He said, then it is easy.  It is I, through my own concupiscence and sins, who makes it hard.

I’m not a theologian and I sure ain’t Augustine, I just hope I am not spouting heresy.  But that is how I reconcile those two passages.

3 thoughts on “Confusing Yokes”

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