Yoke of the Law…
Trying to earn salvation through the Law is a heavy burden that separates us from Christ:
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised that he is bound to observe the entire law. You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. –Galatians 5:1-4, NAB
A yoke is a device that is used to bind animals together, such as oxen, as they work in the field. It has long symbolized the burden and hard work of these animals, so when St. Paul speaks of the yoke of the Law, he is telling the Galatians that living under the Law adds a great burden to their lives – a burden that separates them from Christ.
The Galatians were choosing to follow certain aspects of the Law, specifically circumcision, but St. Paul reminds them that they could not choose to follow just some of the Law. If they chose to follow part of the Law, they are then bound – or yoked – to the entire Law and all of the rituals that come with it.
Why does following the Law separate us from Christ? First of all, we are taking salvation into our own hands and trying to earn our way to Heaven. More importantly, we are not taking the much easier yoke of following Christ. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us:
“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 your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” -Matthew 11:28-30, NAB
When we accept faith as our path to salvation, we are no longer burdened by the Law. We can find rest in our Lord, Jesus Christ. This is the promise made to us by our Lord.
Do not let the yoke of the Law separate you from Christ. Instead, freely accept the yoke of faith given to us by Jesus because His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.