“In our Gospel today we have two dimensions of Jesus: his divinity and his humanity that Jesus is truly the word of God who became incarnate for us. In the first part, Jesus talks about his identification with the Father that no one knows the Father except the Son and the ones to whom the Son would reveal him thus reflecting that word that is Jesus that word become flesh and that he reveals the Father to us his intimacy within the Godhead of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that he through that deep union with the Father, knows the real depth of God’s plan because he is God and he reveals God to us within that humanity. And then that second part of the reading which it says, ‘Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you.’ That’s a much more human type of approach for Jesus is saying, ‘Look, I’m with you. I’ve come here to journey with you. I took on humanity in order to redeem you in order to bring about transformation and eternal life so come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest and I will invite you to allow my yoke to lighten your burden.
That idea of a yoke is important because the purpose of it of course is to distribute the burden. It’s not to take the burden away, but rather it distributes the burden. That’s the way yokes are designed and Jesus if as we assume he lived as a carpenter all those years I’m sure he made many yokes in his day so he knew that you had to really fashion the yoke according to the posture of the animals that were going to be using that yoke. And so when he says, ‘Take my yoke upon you.’ He says I have designed a way to help you within your life and I want to share that burden with you. God never promised to take away the burdens of our life. He never promised to take away the challenges. He never promised to take away the pain, the suffering, but what he did promise is we’ll never do it alone and he will always make it good. He will bring out a good out of the worst evil. That’s his promise and so when he says, ‘Take my yoke upon you.’ He says, ‘let me share your burden. Walk with me. Allow me to grace and to strengthen you. Allow me to grace and to strengthen you. Allow me to make this journey with you and that is the tremendous calling that we have to know that Jesus is always there. We come to him in so many different ways in our life, but in a very special way we come in the Eucharist for Jesus comes to us in every Eucharist in order to embrace us with his love, with his care, with his strength. He is always there in the Eucharist in Eucharistic adoration, there as a savior as our brother as our God. How truly blessed we are and to always remember that that Jesus invites us into that very deep and human relationship in order that through that he may even reveal to us more fully not only the inner life of God, but our true dignity as sons and daughters of God and Jesus challenges us to learn from him because he’s meek and humble of heart. As a child I always learned that prayer, ‘Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.’ It’s a very simple prayer, but a beautiful prayer for transformation that through our journey with Christ we may become ever more like Christ.
Today, obviously, we also celebrate Independence Day, the Fourth of July and it is a time for us to celebrate the gift of our nation, the gift of our founders, to celebrate the positive that has been taking place within our nation, to affirm very strongly the good parts of the foundation of our country and there are many many god values and commitments that were made in the very foundation of our nation and it is to celebrate those. It’s also to recognize that we haven’t fully realized the ideals of our nation- liberty and justice for all, that it is not a completed task, but rather that we as a country must continue to strive for liberty and justice for all and that is a challenge for us and obviously there’s very very strong dissenting opinions and positions in these days, but it’s a time for us to pray for unity in our nation. It’s time for us to pray for a renewed commitment to the deeper values and yes, there are those who would do away with the very foundational values of our country and for that we must be very cautious, but more importantly I think we’re called to pray for unity that we could rediscover that which unites us and yes, recognizing the lax, the imperfections and the sins, nevertheless we could move forward with a vision of who we are called to be and to work together for that. For that we pray today that the Lord may truly grace, strengthen, and bless our nation.”