The Gospel according to Bob Dylan (and everyday working people)
A Reflection for Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28)
Find today’s readings here.
Decades spent in the pew listening to Gospel readings has left me with two strong takeaways: love and hope. Today’s Gospel from Matthew reaffirms those feelings.
Matthew’s Gospel reminds me of Bob Dylan’s “Workingman’s Blues #2,” a song that echoes some of the themes in today’s Gospel, and is certainly worth a listen if you have not heard it. The song expresses the struggle of the everyday person, burdened by all those demands that are part of daily life. The lyrics paint a picture of a weary laborer seeking respite from constant hardships. This theme aligns with Matthew’s message today of the common human need for rest and renewal.
The warmth Jesus expresses is heartening. So many in our world are laboring and are burdened. During this hot summer, think about those construction workers and migrant farm workers outside in the triple digit heat. Think about the medical workers who worked tirelessly and at great risk to themselves during Covid, especially in those crazy early days. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble in heart; and you will find rest for yourselves, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
By taking His yoke upon us, we enter a partnership with Christ, allowing Him to guide and support us through life's challenges.
Jesus offers a new way of living, marked by humility and gentleness. By taking His yoke upon us, we enter a partnership with Christ, allowing Him to guide and support us through life's challenges. The burden becomes lighter, and the weariness finds relief in His presence. That is the love that is expressed constantly in the Gospels that I find overwhelmingly reassuring.
This invitation is not limited to a specific group but extends to all, encompassing the rich and the poor, the powerful and the oppressed.
In his song, Dylan laments the struggles and hardships of the working class, but there is a glimmer of hope in his words. He acknowledges the difficulties faced by ordinary people, yet there is an underlying resilience and determination to carry on. It echoes the gospel message that, despite the weariness, there is still hope to be found.
Hope and love: good news proclaimed as it always is in the Gospel—and in Dylan too! These words assure us that true rest can be found when we surrender our burdens to Christ. May we heed the invitation to find rest in Him and encourage others on their journey towards peace and renewal.