Summary: God will break the yokes that are not from him.
A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the cart or plow that they are to pull.
There are four kinds of yokes--
(1).Unyoked means single. Many of you are unyoked (single). For some, it is a gift from God and your vocation.
(2). Unequally yoked means to be in relationship or married to a unbeliever who does wrong.
In the Bible it says not to yoke a donkey with a horse, or a cow with an ox. Why? Those animals would be unequally yoked because they differed in size, strength, purpose, and ability. For example, Deuteronomy 22:10 expressly prohibits it: "Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together."
One of the animals would control the other, taking it in the wrong direction and the job wouldn’t get done.
So when St. Paul is saying not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers in 2 Corinthians 6:14, he’s teaching us not to be so emotionally and spiritually connected with an unbeliever that he or she has the chance to pull you in another direction or influence the way you think, talk, and behave. Or better yet, do not date or marry the person to begin with!
(3) Equally yoked--You want to try and marry a Catholic who can receive Holy Communion with you, and all the Sacraments; someone is striving to be holy!
(4) Yoked with Christ—for all baptized believers. If a single animal is linked to a load, it's not called a yoke, it's a harness. For a yoke, you need two. Christ is saying that, spiritually, we are to be yoked to Him. This is what our Gospel text is about this Sunday.
Jesus says, “You will find REST for your soul…” Jesus didn’t promise to give you rest for your body. There’s a TV soap opera called “The Young and the Restless,” but it could easily be “The Old and the Restless” too!
The word for “rest” is the word for Sabbath. It means to rest from your labors of trying to earn your salvation. We are saved by faith and being born again in baptism, and regenerated in confession in the event of a serious sin.
An example of why we need to be aware of our yoke with Christ:
A man stood at the edge of the road with a bundle of potatoes, asking for a ride. Another man stopped by his truck and offered him a place in the back of the pickup truck, in the cargo bed. The man came up with his bundle of potatoes and hopped in. A few minutes later, the driver looked in this rear view mirror and saw that the man was still carrying the potatoes on his back as he rode in the back of the pickup truck. At the next stop sign, the driver rolled down the widow, and shouted, "Why do you are still carrying the heavy bundle on your shoulders? Lower it to the floor of the truck”. The other man declared, “Well I feared that the weight of my bundle of potatoes would be too much for his vehicle and therefore, I decided to keep it loaded on my shoulders!”
Sounds ridiculous, does not it? It's what you and I do many times.
What are the burdens you need to put aside today? What are the burdens that you have to yoke to Christ?
Have you ever been struggling with a heavy load and you think, “I’m just not strong enough to bear this load?” Congratulations. You’re right where you need to be to depend on the strength of Jesus. 2 Cor. 12:9 says, “His power is made perfect in our weakness. The moment you surrender to the strength of Jesus Christ, the burden is easy and the load is light.
2). A yoke was a particular Rabbincal school of thought. Jesus says that his yoke is easy. The Greek ward "easy" is always used in the comparative sense.
The Pharisees-They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and they put them on the shoulders of others. To take up Jesus' yoke is not to reject the Torah, rather, it is to live by his interpretation of it (cf. Jer. 5:17-20).
We want to avoid spiritual "bad backs" and “spiritual hernias,” by struggling and striving on our own power. Think of the Divine Mercy image, which always has the words, "I trust in you."
Jesus' easy yoke does not mean lax interpretation of his teaching, but rather a faithful one. Rest for your souls connotes all of the created order in right relationship, delighting in goodness--
e.g. Most of us have a to-do list, but management guru Tom Peters also has what he calls a "to-don't" list--an inventory of behaviors and practices that sap his energy, divert his focus, and ought to be avoided. As Peters puts it, "What you decide not to do is probably more important than what you decide to do."