In today's First Reading, the prophet Zechariah paints a portrait of the Messiah Who is to come. He will be a king, but not just any king. He will be humble king. He will arrive in Jerusalem riding a lowly donkey rather than a majestic warhorse. He will be meek, in Hebrew ānî, which refers to someone who is poor, lowly, afflicted, and needy. This King identifies with the poorest of the poor, those who are oppressed and have little to sustain them.
This humble King, the prophet continues, will be a just savior, and He will bring peace to Jerusalem and beyond. He will not assume His throne by violence or force. In fact, He will banish the weapons of war, the chariot, the horse, the warrior's bow. Then He will reign in peace, and His dominion will stretch across the world all the way to the ends of the earth.
The Psalm tells us about a few more of our humble King's characteristics. He is gracious, merciful, and kind. He does not get angry quickly with His people but is good and compassionate toward them. His humility allows Him to be patient with their failings and faults. He remains ever faithful and always holy, and He stoops down to gently lift those who have fallen and those who bow beneath their heavy burdens.
This humble King is, of course, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In today's Gospel, Jesus tells all of us who labor and carry heavy burdens to come to Him, and He will give us rest. He knows what it's like to work hard and bear a heavy load. As a human being Himself, He understands how we feel. He, too, carried a burden, a yoke.
As God, however, He offers us a marvelous opportunity. We can accept His yoke, which, He says, is easy and light. From our King, we can learn how to be meek and humble of heart, just as He is. We can learn to let go of our troubles and cares and lean upon Him for support. Through intimacy with Him, our humble King, we, too, can grow in humility and love.
Jesus, our humble King, make us humble like You. Help us to lay our burdens at Your feet and take up Your yoke, for with You, any burden can become easy and light. Amen.