Wednesday, April 9, 2014
"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."
True freedom knows no attachments other than Jesus Christ. True freedom can walk away from anything—wealth, honor, fame, pleasure. […] It fears neither the state, nor death itself. We’re free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God’s plan. When we do this, when we choose to live according to God’s intention for us, we are then—and only then—truly free. This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world. And it should animate all of our talk about liberty—religious or otherwise. [...] The political and legal effort to defend religious liberty—as vital as it is—belongs to a much greater struggle to master and convert our own hearts, and to live for God completely, without alibis or self-delusion. - Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia
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.”
Freedom is so misunderstood today. Freedom is not the same as autonomous. Freedom is a gift from God and freedom must be rooted in God. When we live our lives outside of God, we are slaves; we are slaves to sin, to our ego, to every opinion and whim.
True freedom is rooted in our communion with Jesus. Only the disciple is truly free and only the free can truly love.
Thornton Wilder's famous novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, ends with these words: "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning."
Love is the why.
In a world torn apart by war, violence, hatred, confusion and chaos, we all need to be ambassadors of God's love for humanity. We need to show the world that love is possible. We need to show the world that we believe in love!
Pope Francis has shown the world this time and time again during his Wednesday audience when he gets out of the pope mobile to tenderly bless the disabled. By making small gestures like that he is showing the world 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 in St. Peter’s Square 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 love. 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.
Posted by Joe Reciniello at 6:52 AM