In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells His followers, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” According to a priest from Beavercreek, Ohio, this verse, from one of the gospel accounts contained in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, demonstrates how the risen Lord Jesus Christ can take our lives and provide divine order to the most mundane, burdensome labor we face throughout the course of our every day lives.
A story from Fox News points out that we don’t know a whole lot about the history of Matthew, who is given credit for writing this particular gospel, other than he was a disciple of Jesus who was formerly employed as a tax collector. According to Jewish history, a tax collector was one of the most hated and reviled professions a person could hold. For a Jew to be a tax collector was especially scandalous as it essentially meant you were in league with Gentiles — non-Jews, typically pagan — and were taking money and oppressing your own people.
“Jesus’ idea of rest doesn’t seem to be like ours,” Fr. Ambrose Dobrozsi said in an interview with Fox News Digital. Father Dobrozsi is a priest with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and was ordained in 2019. He currently serves as the parochial vicar at St. Luke Church, which is located in the city of Beavercreek. Dobrozsi stated that the notion Christ will “give you rest” might, to some folks, seem like a bit of a contradiction, considering the many demands that come from the Christian faith.
“He puts a lot of demands upon us: We have to go to Mass, fast during Lent, follow his commandments, serve the poor, obey the pope,” Dobrozsi explained, adding, “how could someone so demanding claim that he is going to give us rest?”
However, humankind is already under a number of demands that come from all sorts of sources. “The reality is that we are labored and burdened, no matter what,” said the priest. “We constantly have to please our boss, obey the laws of our country, work to keep our family happy and so many other things. These demands can feel chaotic.” He then stated that, during the flow of our everyday lives, it’s “easy to feel like we’re always being pulled in a bunch of different directions, working on so many things at once, without ever slowing down and taking a break.”
However, in this verse from the book of Matthew, Jesus makes it clear He will not add more burdens to our lives. “If Jesus were going to add one more thing to do to our list, it would not be fair of him. That would not be rest,” Dobrozsi explained. “But his ‘yoke is easy, and his burden is light.’” The priest noted that instead of adding more work to our lives, “Christ’s yoke changes the life and the work we already have. He comes to help us do what we already need to with his grace.”
The priest finished up his exposition of the verse by saying that Jesus is able to take “all the chaos and the competing demands of all the people we’re working for — and bring his divine order.”
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