Today, the Lord tells us that He can give us true rest, beyond that which the world gives. Christ invites us to take His yoke upon us and learn from Him, but this claim is much more significant in light of our First Reading.
When God reveals His name to Moses in the burning bush, He make a bold claim: “I AM.” At face value, this is somewhat redundant. Deeply examined, it reveals two things. First, God is the only God, and all the “gods” that others worship are either non-entities or demons. They cannot begin to compare to the God of the universe, the only One who is. Compared to Him, they do not even exist. Second, this is a metaphysical claim: God is existence itself, in that there is nothing lacking to Him. He has every possible perfection, fullness of being, life in abundance.
With this revelation, God is communicating that He is and always will be truly God, truly all-powerful and all-encompassing, and that no other can compare to Him. He is the one we should turn to for all our needs, since He holds all existence in Himself and has every good gift in abundance. He remains so for all time, never able to be hindered.
Jesus points to this reality at a different point in the Gospel of Luke (20:38), when He uses this passage to prove the resurrection: God revealed Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even though they were thought to be dead or annihilated. In reality, He remains their God, because they remain alive, even after bodily death.
In our Gospel today, Jesus connects Himself with this same image of God. It may sound comforting to hear that all who come to Jesus will find rest, and it is comforting. However, it goes much deeper than the surface. As Pope Benedict XVI pointed out, this passage comes directly before Jesus’ statement that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Coupled with the concepts of “rest” and “burden,” this coalesces to the claim that He is above the Sabbath, not merely as a lawgiver but as the Author of the Sabbath, God Himself.
Only God can give the true Sabbath rest promised in the Ten Commandments and echoed in the Exodus from Egypt. Only He can provide this freedom from both external and internal enemies, from Pharaoh and sin. With this divine claim, Jesus Christ is directly connecting Himself to the “I AM” Who introduced Himself in our First Reading.
We all know that Jesus Christ is God the Son, but it is important to reflect now and again on what this really means. He is the I AM, the one God, the fullness of existence, the giver of every good gift. There is no goodness without God, because there is no existence without God. Jesus Christ, being God, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no other, and any attempt to place our final hope in another will deprive us of the promised rest.
Today, we give praise to God for His providence, for His loving care that provides us rest from our enemies, both from within and from without.
David Dashiell is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader based in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. His writing has been featured in Crisis Magazine and The Imaginative Conservative, and his editing is done for a variety of publishers, such as Sophia Institute and Scepter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature Image Credit: Vanesa Guerrero, rpm, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/1016-arder-amor-dios