This is the third time in three weeks that today’s Gospel reading has come up: June 27, July 16 and today. Is there something magical or mystical about the number Three?
The human mind is more accustomed to dualities: day and night, good and bad, darkness and light, subject and object. Life is a constant rhythm of this 1-2 beat: up and down, contraction and relaxation, inhale and exhale. Yet, these dualities and polarities are bound together by the word ‘and’. Indeed there comes a point where the total (made possible by ‘and’) becomes greater than the sum of the two or of its parts. One and one is not only two but becomes generative of yet another one or two or even more. Life may be sustained by dualities but it is the Trinity that makes life and existence possible.
In the Seven Habits Workshop, we are taught that everything is created twice: first, as a concept in the mind; second, as an object in reality. I now add that if I do it a third time, it starts to become a habit, a part of me. In the Discovery Weekend, we are told to read the letters from our loved one twice: once for the head for understanding, and a second time for the heart for feelings. I now add that if I read it a third time, it seeps into my whole being and into my hands to be translated into actions.
After the Resurrection, Christ asked Peter, who denied him three times earlier that week, this question also three times: “Do you love me?” We need to be reminded not once, not twice but thrice or even more to learn our lessons well. It is by the constant and consistent repetition that I remember and eventually change my life. Excellent speakers always tell their message three times: first, they tell their listeners what they are going to tell them; then, they tell their listeners what it is they want to tell them; then, they tell their listeners what it is they just told them.
For the third time in the last three weeks, the Lord has been inviting me, “Come to me.” And He is full of concern, “I will give you rest.” He does not force nor threaten but gently cajoles, “I am meek and humble of heart, where you will find rest for yourself.” And I feel like staying on and lingering for His yoke is easy and His burden light.
From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
“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 yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”