On the Yoke of Christ

“The Force of Truth … Is What Can Ensure a Future Worthy of Man”

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

In today’s Gospel the Lord Jesus repeats to us those words we know well, but which always move us: “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” (Matthew 11:28-30). When Jesus went about the roads of Galilee proclaiming the Kingdom of God and curing many sick, he felt compassion for the crowds “because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd” (cf. Matthew 9:35-36).

That gaze of Jesus seems to extend to today, to our world. Even today it rests on so many people oppressed by difficult conditions of life, but also deprived of valid points of reference to find a meaning and aim to their existence. Many of the weak are found in the poorest countries, tested by poverty; and even in the richest countries there are so many dissatisfied men and women, in fact sick with depression. Then we think of the numerous dispersed peoples and refugees, and all those who emigrate putting their own life at risk. Christ’s look pauses on all these people, rather on each one of these children of the Father who is in Heaven and repeats: “Come to me, all you …”

Jesus promises to give all “rest,” but he puts a condition: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” What is this “yoke,” which instead of weighing is light, and instead of crushing lifts? The “yoke” of Christ is the law of love, it is his commandment, which he left to his disciples (cf. John 13:34; 15:12). The true remedy for the wounds of humanity — whether they are material, such as hunger and injustice, or psychological and moral, caused by a false sense of well being — is a rule of life based on fraternal love, which has its source in the love of God.

It is therefore necessary to abandon the path of arrogance and violence that is used to procure positions of greater power, so as to ensure success at any cost. Also, out of respect for the environment, it is necessary to give up the aggressive lifestyle that has become prevalent in the last centuries and to adopt a reasonable “meekness.” But above all in human, interpersonal and social relations, the rule of respect and of nonviolence, that is, the force of truth against any abuse is what can ensure a future worthy of man.

Dear friends, yesterday we celebrated the particular liturgical memorial of Mary Most Holy praising God for her Immaculate Heart. May the Virgin help us to “learn” from Jesus’ true humility, to take up with determination his light yoke, to experience interior peace and become in turn capable of consoling our brothers and sisters who continue to work hard as they travel the path of life.

[After the Angelus the Holy Father addressed the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors here today, especially the candidates for the permanent diaconate from the Diocese of Elphin, Ireland, who are here with their wives. In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites all of us to come to him, whatever burdens we may be carrying, whatever labours we may be engaged in, because in him we will find rest. At this time of year when so many of you are taking your annual holiday, I pray that you will truly find refreshment for body and spirit and an opportunity to rest in the Lord. May God bestow his blessings of joy and peace upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones at home.

[Concluding in Italian, he said:]

In the next few days I will leave the Vatican to go to Castel Gandolfo. From there, God willing, I will lead the Angelus next Sunday. Thank you! I wish you all a good Sunday and a good week.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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