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July 19, 2018: Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading Isaiah 26:7-9,12,16-19
Gospel Matthew 11:28-30

“...my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

It’s a common mistake to confuse duty and virtue. We easily take on daily duties, but sometimes we carry them out without faith that God can act through our simple efforts. We can carry them out without hope that what God can accomplish through our efforts is much more than we can imagine, or for that matter, need to know. To carry only the yoke of duty—without gracing our good works with the virtues—is to limit our efforts to the scope of our own understanding.

The difference between a yoke of duty that either chafes over the course of the years, or fits smoothly and firmly, is the virtues. The virtues with which God graces the yoke of duty—both natural virtues such as fortitude, temperance, prudence, and justice, and the divine virtues of faith, hope, and love—are great strengths for our Christian life.

Our Lord Jesus asks that we reflect on the question of whom we serve in our lives. Performing duties only for duties’ sake leads to great weariness. To carry out our obligations in order that another might have life and might be drawn closer to God: this is where we find rest, even in the midst of the workday. The yoke of the Cross is the virtue of love, the greatest virtue, by which we recognize the truth of Isaiah’s prophecy that it is the Lord who has accomplished all we have done.