Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lent Day 37 - Free

The word "free" grabbed me today in the Gospel. As I contemplate its meaning in my life, the first thing that comes to mind is the freedom to worship my Catholic faith in the United States. I am free to discuss Christ with anyone who will listen. I am free to acknowledge my President ends every talk with "God bless you and God bless America!" And, I'm free to choose how to live my life by the choices I make every day. By freely giving up my will for His (albeit a struggle at times), I am able to recognize the agony and the beauty of the Lenten journey to the Resurrection of Our Lord on Easter Sunday. The connection between suffering and joy surfaces and begins to make more and more sense with every Gospel I read. As Jesus says today, "the truth will set you free."

John 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."

The following quote from Anne a lay apostle's book Staying in Place describes the importance of the gift Jesus gave us:

"It is important to distinguish between sacrificial actions that Jesus took, prompted by the Spirit and the manner of His tortures, prompted by the sin of his tormentors. Any teaching which insinuates that Jesus masochistically chose the manner of His torture is in error. We should watch for this in the future.

The Father, who moves through all matter, accompanied Christ the whole way. The Father, who moves through all matter, accompanies us the whole way. We are one with Christ in our suffering because we are also sons and daughters of God, albeit adopted. God decided He would come into being and absorb all rejection for all time to free us from this burden. In a sense, it is God at His best and highest expression of Father, relieving unmanageable burdens of guilt for His children. Who would reject this Savior who absorbs our guilt into His own body? There is sweetness in this that we might miss. This was kindness itself. This was truly God stooping low on our behalf. This is benevolence. He gave all in His little human essence. Why do I say ‘little human essence’? Because when looking at it from the eyes of the Father, Jesus Christ on Earth was as little and as vulnerable in His humanity as we are in our humanity. He was equally adorable and cherished. He was delightful. I think that God would want to direct our focus to the fact that Jesus shared our human state, viewing all of humanity as equal in dignity. He came to lift the whole thing up, to direct us toward the sanctity of all human life. He came to absorb our guilt, yes, and to give us hope, yes, and also to ask that we view this same Christ in every human person. Jesus possessed God and lived in union with God, and so can we. We must choose God and then live our choice, as Jesus did."

Lay apostles, are you fighting letting go of your past? Making decisions based on what others will think of you or your actions? We have been given the tools we need in the Gospels and in the Volumes to change our lives, freely choosing God's Will over our own. How will you let go just a little bit today? 

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of free will. Sorry it has taken me so long to see the beauty of giving it back to You. 

God bless,

No comments: