Helping Others Carry Their Burdens

by Mr. Kevin Fahey

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.



“Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with love for you and for your ways and help me to exchange the yoke of rebellion for the yoke of submission to your holy and loving word. Set me free from the folly of my own sinful ignorance and rebellious pride that I may wholly desire what is good and in accord with your will.”  Please give us the strength and courage to yoke ourselves to the men and women that are serving time in prison.  Let us be like You and make their burden light and give them rest.  Fill our heart and soul with Your Holy Spirit so that we may know what to do and how to serve the imprisoned.  We ask this through Your Son, our King and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Reflection: (By Don Schwager)

“What does the yoke of Jesus refer to in the Gospel? The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom, and the yoke of God. Jesus says His yoke is “easy”. The Greek word for “easy” can also mean “well-fitting”. Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well. Oxen were yoked two by two. Jesus invites us to be yoked with Him, to unite our life with His life, our will with His will, and our heart with His heart. To be yoked with Jesus is to be united with Him in a relationship of love, trust, and obedience.

Jesus carries our burdens with us

Jesus also says His “burden is light”. There’s a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. “That’s a heavy load you are carrying there,” exclaimed the man. “He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother!” responded the boy. No burden is too heavy when it’s given in love and carried in love. When we yoke our lives with Jesus, He also carries our burdens with us and gives us His strength to follow in His way of love. Do you know the joy of resting in Jesus’ presence and walking daily with Him along the path He has for you?

Freed from the burden of sin and guilt

Only Jesus can lift the burden of sin and the weight of hopelessness from us. Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a weight of glory and victory with Him. The yoke, which Jesus invites us to embrace, is His way of love, grace, and freedom from the power of sin. Do you trust in God’s love and submit to His will and plan for your life?”


Can you imagine spending the rest of your life or even a week in a 6’X4’ cell block room?  Can you imagine living in a cell block room, in a prison, with no privacy and feeling alone, cold and sad?  Can you imagine being convicted of a crime that you did not commit and then have to live with the horror and pain the rest of your life?  Can you imagine the sorrow of someone in prison, who has made amends with God and has been rehabilitated, but still feels less than human? We need to share our yoke with them and make their burden light just as Jesus does for us.

“When you have finished your work, do your brother’s, helping him, for Christ’s sake, so tactfully and naturally that no one – not even he- will realize that you are doing more than what in justice you ought.  This, indeed, is virtue befitting a son of God.” (J.Escriva, The Way, 440)


We should always try to relieve others from whatever seems to weigh them down, just as Christ would have done in our place.  Sometimes this means doing a small act of service like writing a letter to a prisoner, saying a decade of the rosary nightly on their behalf, or going to visit someone in prison.  We need to encourage them and give them hope. “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)


A Restorative Justice Reflection on Life Without Parole for Minors

by Mrs. Jana Minor

Luke 6:36-37

Be compassionate as your God is compassionate.  Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned.


Creator God, help us value all of our youth and to abandon practices which are more harmful than helpful.

Reflection: (“21st Century Lynching” a poem by Mr. Marcos Gray, used with his written permission)

Convicted before birth…so no one really believes in my innocence…

Deemed worthless from the outset, so since they posit I wasn’t born human…my humanity could only be granted…in increments.

The black robe and gavel has taken the place of the white robe and the noose…

So as I prepare for my battles in the court room, I’m being herded like cattle.  I’ve correctly concluded that they don’t care about truth.

They want our youth to die, but to do so in slow motion occurring through years….wasted.

Since my dried tears are constantly tasted…

And my brief notion of hope behind these walls of isolation

Has barely survived here…So I must face it.

I’m being asphyxiated by the New Jim Crow’s favorite statement…

“_____boy, take the life without parole…”

Since they suppose that I wasn’t born human any way

Then this essentially means that I do not possess a soul.

This existence is choking me…my legs kick and my arms flail,

Yet it moves in slow motion…

Perpetual pain preventing progress meaning I fall into the abyss of a mental death…it’s like I’m screaming and yet choking….But there are no words or sounds being spoken.

Yet…wouldn’t death imply life?

I feel the anguish and its worse at night…

So I subsist of nothing but pain because no one cares how this system….is not right.

I’m forced to deal with a prison term, yet I’m battling to expose the judicial system’s intentions…

They placed a rope around my neck, so I choke, yet no one is willing to listen…

To the alphabets dangling around my neck saying “life without parole…

This country’s 21st Century Lynching Exhibition.


Mr. Gray is one of nearly 3000 prisoners in our country sentenced to life without parole for a crime convicted when they were teenagers (some as young as 13 years old).  During the 20 years he has been incarcerated he has educated himself and become a powerful writer. Do we not believe in forgiveness?  Of course, we hold people accountable, but do we really believe that young people can never change and that there is no hope of them ever becoming contributing citizens?


  • Remember an act you committed when you were young that was not responsible. Would you have wanted your whole life to be defined by that act?
  • Pray for those whose sentence will keep them imprisoned for the rest of their lives especially those who were very young when the act for which they were convicted was committed.