We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn: (1918 – 2008: was a Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer)
Gospel Text: (JN 8:31-42)
Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”
They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”
Jesus said in today’s gospel: “And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The truth is that all of us know we are created in the image and likeness of God; that we are children of God and forever united to Him; that we are capable of knowing the truth and freely ordering our lives towards the good; that we are connected with one another through the mystery of the Body of Christ and this can inspire us to lives of loving service for our neighbor.
“And the truth will set you free,” Jesus says. Many people associate freedom with the mere absence of external constraints. Yes this can be one of the conditions for freedom but the core of freedom does not lie in an absence of external constraints. Freedom is an affirmation. It affirms our ability to make choices, to decide and to determine ourselves. Pope John Paul II had greatly emphasized that: “Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known,” (The Splendor of Truth, n. 34).
It is sin – committed in defiance of the laws that God laid down for our own protection – that ensnares and enslaves us. And it is truth, a life lived in the light, that brings real freedom.
As we reflect on the gospel today, let us examine our lives and assess how freely we are living it. Do we build ourselves prisons out of our favorite sins, done covertly under the guise of unfettered living of our lives? Or do we constantly choose the path of right living, that we may walk in the light, unafraid and truly free?
As John’s Gospel has Jesus reminding His listeners they are responsible for the accuracy of their hearing and the truth of their understanding. Two thousand years later, so are we!