Podcast Reflections

Reflection on Matthew 11.28-30

Listen to a reflection on Matthew 11.28-30, the gospel reading set for Advent 2: Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Matthew 11.28-30

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’


How do you relax and unwind? For some, this can be achieved simply by a change of activity, whilst for others there needs to be a definite time of ‘switching off’. For some, there needs to be a change of scenery, a moving away from the familiar and the predictable, whilst for others a simple breath of ‘fresh air’ will do the trick. However we find rest and the lightening of the burdens of daily life, it is something that is essential if we are not to become burnt out.

In today’s reading we hear some very familiar, and oft-repeated words of Jesus. These words of comfort and consolation are meant to bring the peace of mind we all seek in our daily lives. Every new day presents us with a new set of challenges, whether the challenges of earlier days have been resolved or not. We live in a world of cumulative pressure, of relentless concern, of overwhelming worry. Today we are brought face-to-face with the fact that Jesus understands this aspect of human existence. We are also being offered a way of handling the pressure, if only we will have faith in the hope he offers us.

As we struggle with that which seems to be too much to bear, Jesus reminds us that he is both gentle and humble of heart. Jesus is gentle in the way he is kind and forgiving of our human weakness and folly. Jesus is humble in the way that he is with us in all our troubles, even though he is both our King and our God. In these words Jesus reminds us of all that he did for us in coming to share fully in our mortal condition. Jesus wants us to go to him when the going gets tough; he wants us to trust that he can relieve the pressure; he also wants us to do the same for others.

Too often we are judgemental of the words and actions of others as we see them struggle with daily life. The poor are often described as being ‘lazy’ and ‘feckless’. The refugees, the lost and the lonely are described as ‘interlopers’ and ‘scroungers’. The mentally unwell are seen as ‘weak’ and ‘spineless’ as they ‘wallow in self-pity’. All of these commonly-held attitudes stand in direct opposition to the message we hear in today’s reading … Jesus’ message of hope, comfort and consolation.

Throughout the gospel narrative Jesus is showing us how we should behave. We are all called to live in a Christ-like way, which means that we too should be gentle and humble in heart. As our weariness and our burdens are relieved through the love of Christ, so we are called to offer the same relief to others. The big question is: ‘Do we?’

Let us pray for the strength to be welcoming, gentle and humble in our dealings with others, and especially with those who are in need of our love and help. Let us pray that, as we trust in Christ’s loving mercy, we might demonstrate the depth of that trust by showing those in need the same care and support. Let us pray that this Advent will see us develop a stronger sense of Christian responsibility as we travel through this world of self-interest and greed.