I was reading Matthew 11:28-30 the other day. Here is what it reads:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
These are the words of Christ.
I find this verse refreshing. However I have been pondering over it because I don’t know how it fits in context with Matthew 7:13-14:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
These are also the words of Christ. I can think of multiple ways to interpret these verses, I wanted others’ inputs. I suppose that the first verse can be understood in context of a child-like faith that Jesus talks about in other passages of the gospel. The difficulties expressed in the second passage can be related to the allure of the world and the temptation to live in sin. But the weight of sin is lifted by the sacrifice of Christ, and those who are set free in Christ are no longer burdened by sin. This is my interpretation. I want to hear from others.
The 1st is a condemnation of the many laws of the Pharisees thst were unnecessary legalism, and the 2nd about how hard it can be for man to enter the kingdom because of the change in man’s nature after the fall.
Here’s the way I fit them together:
Mt. 11:28-30 tells us how to “enter the narrow gate”. We enter by “coming to Jesus”.
Mt. 7:13-14 lets us know that there are many who “enter” the wide gate instead. No doubt because to “Come to” Jesus means heeding His teaching - something they are not prepared or willing to do.
I think Mt. 7:13-14 should be a call to all who have “come to Jesus” – a call to pray for the conversion of those who have entered “the broad road …”. The passage does not say that all who enter there will or must remain there.
My personal interpretation - When I step away from God, when I neglect my prayer time, when I sin, when I separate myself from Him - that’s when I get caught up in the craziness of life and all it’s worries and fears and anxieties - that’s when I definitely feel a huge weight upon my chest, when even having “fun” becomes hard labor as I try to squeeze everything in and worry about all that needs done, all I could do, all I “should” do.
When I turn to God and place him first, that burden lifts away and caring for the needs of my family becomes joy not burden. Not coincidentally I think, when I turn to God I also become more focused, realizing it’s not my job or responsibility to handle “it all”. I don’t have to be perfect, or volunteer for everything or contribute to everything, or acquire everything. I can only do what I can do, and be satisfied with what I have - and work to please God - not what society may say I should have or do or care about.
Thus I end up on a more narrow path, but a better one. I have to chose that narrow path and give up the distractions - positive and negative that are spread out far and wide - but when I do so, I am granted peace and strength, my burden becomes light.
And so that’s how those verses tie together in my own world - and I thank you for reminding me of them.
That is not exactly true. The Catechism says that it is possible for them to be saved, provided that they, through no fault of their own, have never had an opportunity to know and understand the truth of the Church. Those that are following their religion and are ignorant of the Catholic faith are making the most of what they have and are adhering to their consciences. Make to mistake, the Church is necessary for salvation, and none is saved outside the Church. They may be counted among the Church’s ranks who have never heard the gospel, God only knows the hearts of those men and women. But those are the exception, not the rule. Be wary of saying things like “men from any religions can be saved” or “atheists can be saved” because it can lead people to believe in false teachings.