Peace of the Lord be with you as we remember Independence Day this weekend!

It was a bold step for the Founders of this country to declare their independence from England.

The Declaration of Independence was, and still is, a remarkable document of liberty and freedom.

It stands as a blueprint for society and the world in respecting the rights of all people to liberty and freedom.

Oppression takes many forms and that includes religious oppression.

This week’s Sunday Gospel reflects the spirit of liberty and freedom from oppression, from life’s burdens:

“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.”

Compare this with the Inscription on the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

How well do we live up to these imperatives? It is up to us to lay our burdens with Jesus. It is up to us to provide relief for the needy. If we don’t, then how do we expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Unburdening ourselves should free us to help others to experience their own freedom to do the same. Pay it forward!

In the words of a Janis Joplin song, “Me and Bobby McGee”:

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free, no no”

My the Lord bless you with relief from your burdens and give you the strength and freedom to do unto others!

And may Almighty God bless you, + In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Many blessings, much pono and many pule!

Fr. Brian Guerrini,