Once I read a legend concerning the hidden
life of Jesus that is quite enlightening.
This legend claims that Jesus was one of
the master yoke-makers in Galilee. People
came from miles around for a yoke, hand-crafted
by Jesus son of Joseph.
What made him special was his attention to
details. He would spend considerable time
measuring the team of oxen, their height,
width, space between them and the size of
their shoulders. A yoke, as you know, is
a wooden crosspiece fastened over the necks
of two oxen and attached to the plow. Within
a week, the team would be brought back and
he would carefully place the newly made yoke
over the shoulders, watching for rough places,
smoothing out the edges and fitting them
perfectly to this specific team of oxen.
In Matthew we listen to Jesus proclaiming
that 'his yoke is easy'. A better translation
would be 'well-fitting'. God gives us the
ideal yoke we need to keep us looking ahead
in our journey towards haven. It fits us
well, does not rub us nor cause us to develop
Many times, however, when we have a problem,
we feel as if everything is going wrong.
Instead of adjusting our shoulders to the
yoke, we kick against the goad. We easily
fall into self pity, thinking that nobody
cares or that everything is falling apart.
As always in life, we have to cart off the
basic destructive attitudes that tend to
weigh down our whole spirit.
First of all, we have to let go of the idea
that our problem is permanent. Few troubles
last forever. And those that cannot be solved
can usually be managed. After the night,
there is always the light.
Secondly, it is important to let go of the
idea that our problem is pervasive. Few problems
affect every area of your life. There are
always bright areas in our life even in the
biggest of tragedies.
Thirdly, let go of the idea that your problem
is personal. Problems tend to discourage
us into depression. There is nothing wrong
with you because you have a problem. All
capable and successful people have problems.
All this may help us to cross the threshold
into a positive perspective. We Christians
are lucky. I remember an old story about
a little boy who was out helping dad with
the yard work. Dad asked him to pick up some
rocks in the yard. The boy was doing OK until
he came to a huge rock buried in the dirt.
The little boy struggled and struggled while
dad watched. Finally, the boy gave up and
said, "I can't do it."
Dad then asked, "Did you use all of
your strength?" The little boy looked
hurt and said, "Come on, dad. You saw
me using every ounce of energy I have."
The father smiled and said, "No, you
didn't. You didn't ask me to help you!"
Gradually we have to learn how to let the
energy of Jesus Christ penetrate into our
Remember that yokes are always designed for
two. And our yoke-partner is none other than
Christ himself. We have a partner, "a
mighty valiant hero" Scripture calls
Actually He does everything. He only expects
us not to obstruct too much his achievement!
An ant and an elephant were crossing over
a makeshift rope bridge. Obviously, the bridge
was rocking from one side to the other because
of the weight of the elephant. Apparently
however, the ant did not realize the evident
truth! It glanced at the elephant and pompously
asserted "We are really making the bridge
shake, aren't we?!" How ridiculous we
Dr. Diane Komp of Harvard Medical School
tells the story of one of her Down's syndrome
patients, with whom she was eating, at a
restaurant. The restaurant had music and
a little dance floor. Her friend loved to
dance, but Komp had had a hard day and didn't
feel up to it. But then the young man found
a partner, another Downs person named Grace.
And they danced, and danced, and the young
man was so pleased and excited afterwards.
He said to Dr. Komp, "Grace is amazing,
is she not? she could dance all night."
Yes, Amazing Grace! Grace dances all day,
all night, forever.
Saint Alphorns De Liguori concludes his classical
book 'Uniformity with the Will of God' in
this way. "If some particularly crashing
misfortune comes upon us, for example, the
death of a relative, loss of goods, let us
say: 'Yes, Father, for so it has seemed good
in your sight'. 'Yes, my God and my Father,
so be it, for such is your good pleasure.
Above all, let us cherish that prayer of
our Lord that he himself taught us: 'Thy
will be done on earth as it is in heaven'.
'Our Lord bade St. Catherine of Genoa to
make a notable pause at these words whenever
she said the Our Father, praying that God's
holy will be fulfilled on earth with the
same perfection with which the saints do
it in heaven. Let this be our practice also,
and we shall certainly become saints."
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright