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
Gospel text (Jn 8,31-42): Jesus went on to say to the Jews who believed in him: «You will be my true disciples if you keep my word. Then you will know the truth and the truth will make you free». They answered him, «We are the descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves of anyone. What do you mean by saying: ‘You will be free?’». Jesus answered them, «Truly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave. But the slave doesn't stay in the house forever; the son stays forever. So, if the Son makes you free, you will be really free. I know that you are the descendants of Abraham; yet you want to kill me because my word finds no place in you. For my part I speak of what I have seen in the Father's presence, but you do what you have learned from your father».
They answered him, «Our father is Abraham». Then Jesus said, «If you were Abraham's children, you would do as Abraham did. But now you want to kill me, the one who tells you the truth —the truth that I have learned from God. That is not what Abraham did; what you are doing are the works of your father». The Jews said to him, «We are not illegitimate children; we have one Father, God». Jesus replied, «If God were your Father you would love me, for I came forth from God, and I am here. And I didn't come by my own decision, but it was he himself who sent me».
Freedom is so misunderstood today. Freedom is a gift from God and freedom must be rooted in God. True freedom is rooted in our communion with Jesus. Our Lord assures us that, if we persist in his word, we shall know the truth, and the truth will make us free ( Jn 8:32).
If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that 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.
Yesterday morning when Pope Francis got out of the pope mobile to tenderly bless a disabled man he was showing us what it means to truly be free and to truly love. Rooted in total confidence in God, with no fear of the possibilities of suffering bodily harm, he immerses himself into the people that he has been called to serve in love and freedom.
How absurd it is to be selfish. Only Jesus, the icon of the Father's love for you and me, shows us how to be free. His way is simple, practical and clear. His way is spelled out for us in the Gospel.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Only in him can we be truly free, because only in him can we truly love.