Wednesday, March 28, 2012

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought. - Pope John Paul II

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."

To say we are a “slave“ to certain behaviors is an extreme example, but if we are honest, we can all say there are definitely many things people have a hard time saying no to. Specific activities, clothing, gadgets or even foods can prove to be a challenge to turn down. This little example leads me to ask myself again: Am I a slave of sin?

Our Lord assures us that, if we persist in his word, we shall know the truth, and the truth will make us free (cf. Jn 8:32). To be truthful is not always easy. How often do we tell small lies, how often do we pretend, how often do “we act dumb”? We cannot deceive God. He sees us, He contemplates us. He loves us and follows us, in our day-to-day routine.

All of us cry for freedom, but if our society was truly wise, it would first cry for obedience and truth. We try to free ourselves, but freedom is something that must be done for us by God. We try to control circumstances or even manipulate people to be free, but freedom has nothing to do with circumstances. Freedom is not independence, but dependence on God and interdependence on others. Freedom is not selfishly doing “our own thing“, but unselfishly doing God's thing. This is not attained by believing the lies of the world, but by believing in Jesus, the Truth (see Jn 14:6).

Because God is Love (1 Jn 4:8, 16) and love must be freely given, it is up to us personally to accept that love. The choice is ours to truly be free! "It was for liberty that Christ freed us. So stand firm, and do not take on yourselves the yoke of slavery a second time!" (Gal 5:1)

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