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Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Borrowing from the image in today’s Gospel, “…my yoke is easy and my burden light,” (Mt. 11:30), I am reminded of a particular reality; namely, that we bind ourselves to many things every day. We have routines. We have habits, some of which are good, some bad. Some very bad and unhealthy. The good routines help us to stay centered. Father Mike Collins, for example, was a man of regiment. He stuck to his routine, and I believe that was one of the things that helped him to be so effective in his ministry. For many of us, it might be things like coffee, prayer, exercise, and so on. As far as the not so good habits go, we bind ourselves to these things for a variety of reasons. Loneliness. Anger. Depression. Maybe even jealousy or a lack of healthy intimacy in our lives. If we look within the words of Jesus today, the invitation is to “yoke ourselves” to him daily. His promise is that this binding will not be a burden. It will, in fact, be for us just the opposite. It will give us what I like to call clarity of mind and heart, a better sense of direction, and, most of all, a deeper feeling of peace on a day to day basis.

A few months ago, my Mom was having a particularly challenging week. By the time I had arrived for my day off, she had already worked her way through it to a sense of acceptance and a happier state of mind. She told me how she did it. She said, “…so I just decided to sit down with God, and me and God had a little talk. I said, ‘Holy Spirit, you’re gonna need to get me through this…’ and, sure enough, He did…” Thanks, Mom.

For Christ to be “born again” into our hearts and lives throughout the year, we must be willing to honestly examine how we are living, specifically, what we are “yoking ourselves” to and to be willing to let go of whatever it is that weighs us down. As we prepare for Jesus to come into our lives at Christmas through fellowship, worship, and celebration, what might need to “go out of” our lives, so that we can bind ourselves more closely to Him?

FOR REFLECTION: To what am I binding myself every day? And, better yet, why?

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