Deuteronomy, Chapter 31, Verse 6
Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you.
Our sweet Lord asks us to submit to His leadership. When we think we can do it on our own this is vanity, pride or arrogance and this is when fear or dread steps in. He asks us to have complete trust in Him for it is vanity to strive for perishable riches and to fix our hopes on them.
Yet, how does one submit to Christ’s leadership? When I first joined the Navy and again the Army, I was before anything else, required to take an oath of enlistment.
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
The main points in the oath are that we can apply to following Christ’s leadership is 1) you will support and defend 2) you will bear true faith and allegiance and 3) that you will obey to the death if need be. Nevertheless it is much easier said than done and our Lord tells us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Mt. 11:29)
According to an old legend, Jesus was known as an expert yoke maker. Having been trained as a carpenter by St. Joseph, he knew just how to fashion a yoke to fit an ox perfectly. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the Greek word translated as “easy” in today’s gospel passage, chrēstos, also means “well-fitting.” Not only that, just as a young ox learning to bear its burdens was paired with an older and more experienced one, through the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery, God paired us with Jesus his Son, who shared fully in our human condition, even to the point of suffering injustice, persecution and death. He’s been where we are. He accepted the challenge of being human to show us how to truly live. If you look at a yoke, it can seem rather ugly, cumbersome and painful. But one that is well-made and fitted for us can enable us to pull even heavier and more difficult loads; and if we have someone pulling alongside us, then the load is made even easier.