Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent



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.


Descendants of Abraham should be free; that’s certain. That privileged title belongs to everyone whom God has claimed for his own, including the Christian who lives by faith, as Saint Paul said. But freedom is terrifying and illusive. Anyone can aspire to freedom and think the aspiration makes him free but true freedom is not so easily attained.

More often we settle for security and wrap ourselves in the conventions of people around us. Nor should that surprise us since freedom is only found in company with others. Freedom is a gift we give one another. That liberty which we might take from others is sham freedom. It comes with the price of resentment, suspicion, animosity and hatred of others. The powerful person who demands his freedom from others may think he is independent and happy but he must be regarded as a dangerous animal by others. Their last thought is the state of his soul; he doesn't seem to have one.
Freedom comes with the  price we call consequences. Every act is followed by consequences, intended and unintended, and the agent is responsible for both. I remember a difficult time in my life when I struggled to mail a letter. Dropping it into that steel box on the street with its weighted gate that slammed shut was more than I could handle. But learning to make decisions and stand by them was exhilarating.

There are two ways of attaining more freedom. The first is by acquiring more power, which may come in the form of money, strength, ample space or the assistance of other people. The second is by putting a cap on one’s desires, since freedom is all about doing and getting what one wants. The man with a thousand dollars who is happy to find a $500 beater is much freer than the millionaire who cannot afford a new Lamborghini.
During Lent we should gently practice the second way to freedom. The Church fasts and abstains from certain foods; spends more time in prayer and less time on unrestricted activities; and gives alms, thus cutting into our financial freedom. Containing our desires we experience in some measure the freedom of Christ, especially if we explore other less traveled roads through volunteer works of charity and prayer.

But we also experience our enslavement during Lent, especially when our resolutions fail. There is freedom in that revelation. Relieved of false conceptions about ourselves we approach the Savior’s mercy more readily, humbly and joyfully.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.