At first glance, Jesus’ clarion call of comfort to the burdened, beaten, and weary seems to be a rare case of understatement. The yoke of his earthly life and its violent end were, after all, anything but “easy” and “light.”

Today’s reading does not promise us a life free of adversity either. It does not deny that we must take up our crosses and follow Jesus. What the Gospel does assure us, however, is that God is “with [us] always, to the very end of the age.”

Taking Jesus’ yoke can involve accepting hardship and challenge, but it also means being “meek and humble of heart” enough to recognize that we cannot weather life’s storms on our own, that we need God to offer us the grace that sustains and the rest that restores.

What pains or failures can I humbly turn over to God today? How can I let go and let God continue generously leading me to new life?

—Brian Harper works in Chicago as a communications specialist for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Jesuit provinces.