Mattew 11: 28-30

“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.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved

The Reality of Jesus’ Promises

There are times—some frequent and in rapid succession, some spaced at long intervals—when Jesus’ promises seem simply too good to be true. They seem like dreams, beautiful words that have no place in the hard world. Today’s Gospel reading is filled with just such dreamy words: “I will give you rest,” “meek and humble,” “my yoke is easy.”

Let me be honest though. Very often what I resist in words like these is not the result or the end, it’s the getting there. Because being given rest, having my burden taken from me, and receiving the light yoke in return means that whatever is currently occupying me, weighing me down, and compressing my spirit even now as I write and you read these words, may not actually be what God wants us to be doing.

And that means change—change of our plans, change of our habits of control, change of our expectations. I think that when we’re able to be a little more honest than normal it’s clear: it’s not that Jesus is speaking about an imaginary world; it’s that my imagination has been too small.  It’s not that Jesus’ words are too dreamy; it’s that my dreams are not large enough.

—Fr. Patrick “Paddy” Gilger, SJ, was ordained on June 15, 2013, and is serving as Associate Pastor of St. John’s Parish, Creighton University, Omaha. Click here for an Ignatian News Network video on ordination featuring Fr. Gilger.


Lord, when I need your solace the most, I, too, often seek comfort elsewhere.  Sometimes I feel too weary, too overwhelmed, too anxiety-ridden, too short on time to rest in you.  And all you want is to bear my pain and lift me up.  I must remember this.  I must fill up my spirit by permitting you to be my God:  “I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

—The Jesuit Prayer Team