Can I Ask for Help? Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Times


Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

These words from Jesus are some of the most common words that we find ourselves going to when we are in a stressful or challenging personal situation, when we find that the people and situations that we are carrying in our hearts are too much to bear.

Jesus is offering a simple invitation, but it is one that goes right to the heart of what we need in life.

Those challenging times are when our prayer is probably very simple. We just need God’s loving arms around us. Or we need the comforting arms and words of a friend. We need the peace that Jesus so often promises.

That comforting hold from a friend is probably challenging these days. Is she carrying COVID-19? Should I ask him to wear gloves and a mask when he embraces me?

Jesus describes himself in these verses as gentle and humble. He has a good grasp of the way in which he relates to people. We know that he offers harsh words for certain leaders, but he has an entirely different way of relating to the one who is in need and asks for his help.

The image of a yoke is quite helpful. Two oxen, working as a team, carry a yoke. When Jesus describes his yoke as easy, he is acknowledging that he is helping us, walking side by side, and likely taking most of the weight.

Jesus is not suggesting that we go it alone. Nor is he suggesting that we acquiesce our own responsibility and just say, Oh well, Jesus will take care of it.  It’s teamwork, a relationship whereby we actually and really do what we can.

Perhaps there is something that I can do to lessen my burden. Maybe I need to give myself freedom to take a day off or to ask a trusted friend for help.

We hear so often in the Gospel about Jesus’ understanding of people and his desire to lighten their load. He is inviting us to offer that same gift to each other. We are often invited to team up with someone else with the yoke.

Even Jesus himself needed the assistance of another as he carried his cross through the streets of Jerusalem. That takes humility.

My own personality is so stubborn and independent. I see so many illustrations in my personal life, whether something simple like moving furniture or something more complicated dealing with my struggles.

I suppose that a wise person looking on would say to me, why don’t you just ask for help? People are very happy to help!

I don’t think that I am so unique. Many of us carry heavy burdens because we are afraid to ask for help. Or we think that there is no one who can help us.

That’s when it becomes helpful to have a little humility and recognize that we are human and occasionally need help. Can I ask for help? That person is probably cooperating with Christ today.

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Peggy Spencer
    Posted at 06:11h, 05 July Reply

    Thank you, Philip, for this great article. I have been struggling all week with a particular problem. It is not a new problem, but this does not make it any easier to deal with. But I find if I don’t resort to the right person for help, I just have to virtually get on with it. Gradually, commonsense is sinking in. I often wonder what the Lord thinks of us when there he is just waiting patiently and lovingly for us to turn to him. So Philip, maybe you need to heed your own advice, and just ask help yourself. Keep us posted!

  • Peter Bisson SJ
    Posted at 09:04h, 05 July Reply

    Thank you Philip!

  • Jeanette Woodley
    Posted at 11:29h, 05 July Reply

    Thank you Father Philip. Very thoughtful reflection.

  • Bernice Dookhan-Khan
    Posted at 11:36h, 05 July Reply

    Thanks for the clear messages and reminders here. Indeed, just following Jesus and having a little humility can bring us peace…

    God bless you Father.

  • Lorella D'Cruz
    Posted at 20:59h, 05 July Reply

    Thank you for pointing out the importance of overcoming our pride and asking for help when we need it, and, equally, of hearing another’s unspoken cry for assistance. This is truly Christ-like. Reach out a caring hand or a shoulder to cry on or a warm hug (metaphorical in these Covid-19 days) to the troubled and the lonely. To know that someone else understands what we are going through means so much to the human spirit when circumstances seem unbearable.

  • Janice Ann Paul csja
    Posted at 22:14h, 05 July Reply

    When you are used to always helping others it is hard to ask or accept help.
    As you grow older you feel asking for help is a weakness & you lose your independence I am 83 yrs old & I have difficulty accepting help from my daughters & others but I still can help where needed.
    God gives me the strength to help in many ways.

  • Lorraine Majcen
    Posted at 23:18h, 05 July Reply

    I have found Fr Philip, that asking for help sometimes takes courage and humility. We often feel we have to be self reliant and self sufficient. But as you mentioned, that the people that are able to, or want to help, are doing so, as they are cooperating with Christ. I also feel that God wants to be the one to help, and to have us lean on him, for his support. Thank you Fr Philip!

Post A Comment

Subscribe to igNation

Subscribe to receive our latest articles delivered right to your inbox!