In telling us to take his yoke upon us, Jesus was comparing himself to an ox: and at the same time, he was comparing the Heavenly Father tp the farmer guiding the plow. For us, living in an age of tractors, the meaning has gone out of Our Lord’s imagery.
I, having spent eleven years in a Korean county where there were no tractors, am able to take real delight in this picture that Our Lord draws. My parish took in the whole of a county between the high mountains and the sea, and we had small groups of Catholics scattered far from each other in the foothills.
I have a warm memory of one day resting on a ridge, watching a lone farmer and his ox plowing a valley. There was perfect harmony between them. To keep his ox plowing straight, the farmer would sing out, “Eero! Eero!”
At times, the nutrients in the top three inches of an oft-plowed land would be exhausted Then, the farmer would fashion a yoke with two arches to it. With that extra ox, the famer was able to plow up another inch or two of top soil. However, at first he would have trouble with the young ox wanting to go its own way,
But, hopefully, the young ox would learn from the old ox. It too would fall into harmony with the farmer. It had gotten through to him that by following the lead of the old ox, the yoke could actually felt sweet.