Who are those who labour and are heavy-burdened? It is easy to forget that so many people still fit that description. Our children might no longer work in mines, and we no longer turn our fields by hand, but many workers have to put in do long hours of demanding work. Just to provide the basics of food and shelter is still a heavy load for many people.
In a contemporary setting, Jesus might well have invited those who were exhausted and stressed, who belong to the “Squeezed middle class”. Struggle is as much a part of everyday life today as it was at any time in the past. It is also as silent and ignored as it has always been. This is not surprising. Those who are labour and are heaven-burdened are unlikely to tell you they are exhausted and stressed. What use is faith when you truly exhausted and stressed? Having something to believe in is essential and finding comfort in faith can be a good start. If that faith makes you dutiful in your dealings, quick to forgive, kind in your exchanges and conscious of your own dignity, you have accepted the invitation of this Sunday’s Gospel.
Faith tells us that we should see ourselves as more than our work and troubles. It allows us to re-humanise ourselves and remember that we are more than the things that make us feel helpless, isolated and unappreciated. If you can truly believe in your own redemption, it is easier to embrace every new day with hope.