“When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society. “ - Pope John Paul II
(Scripture Text: Amos 9:11-15)
Thus says the LORD:
On that day I will raise up
the fallen hut of David;
I will wall up its breaches,
raise up its ruins,
and rebuild it as in the days of old,
That they may conquer what is left of Edom
and all the nations that shall bear my name,
say I, the LORD, who will do this.
Yes, days are coming,
says the LORD,
When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the vintager, him who sows the seed;
The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains,
and all the hills shall run with it.
I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel;
they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities,
Plant vineyards and drink the wine,
set out gardens and eat the fruits.
I will plant them upon their own ground;
never again shall they be plucked
From the land I have given them,
say I, the LORD, your God.
In our world, the pronoun “I” does not signify God is speaking. “I” belongs to the self and being a self can become a burden. I am the bearer of rights and liberties, I am the keeper of my conscience, I am autonomous, I am unique, I am the sum of my choices, I decide my values, I face death alone.
Locked into an interior space, the self grows isolated and sad. This is not who we are or who we were created to be.
Recognizing personal freedom is among history’s great achievements. Nations that ignore rights and liberty are fearful places. But freedom need not leave us stuck in isolation within our very selves.
In God’s presence, we don’t disappear; we become more real.