God is With Us

Dear Friends,

Due to the bulletin publisher’s deadlines around the holiday, I write this way in advance of the July 4 weekend. I pray that everyone has a happy, safe and peace-filled celebration this entire Independence Day weekend.

In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus says, “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.” Many are under the impression that the demands of the Gospel are burdensome, troublesome, even impossible. But Jesus promised His grace, strength, help if we but surrender our will to the Father’s. When we lay down at the feet of Jesus the burdens which this world offers and pick up His yoke, we are not carrying that yoke alone, but Jesus is right there with us, helping us all along the way. That is why Jesus tells us His yoke is easy and His burden light ~ He is sharing it with us, step by step.

In my homily a few weeks back, I shared some impactful insights from Monsignor Joseph Pellegrino from the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, FL. I think they bear repeating here this weekend in light of our Gospel passage. Jesus reminds us that only He can reveal the Father to us.

Friends, we are in a spiritual battle. The Devil constantly assaults us with three terrible lies. The first lie, “you are not good enough!” God tells us that He made us, in His own image and likeness. That He became one of us, sharing our humanity, flesh and blood. That He died and rose again to share with us everlasting life. The second lie, “you are alone!” God tells us that He is always with us. He knows us through and through, inside and out. That every hair on our head is accounted for. God tells us that together by His grace we will conquer terrors, fears, evil in our lives and in our world.

The third lie, “God has deceived you!” The devil used this most effectively with our first parents. He planted the doubt in their minds. They thought God was holding back, not providing everything they needed. We are subject to the same lie, how many think their ideas, philosophies, thinking is superior to God’s ways. That their idea of what is true is superior to God’s. They even think they themselves are the source of truth. Jesus directly tells us, “I (Jesus) am the way, and the truth, and the life.” No one gets to the Father except through Jesus.

My friends as we recall and celebrate our country’s independence, may we seek true freedom by being yoked to Jesus. May we, by His grace and power, overcome the lies of the evil one and work for the building up of God’s Kingdom here on earth.

God bless you, God love you,

Monsignor McCulken

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