Wednesday, March 16 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Lent
Holy Gospel: 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.”
Meditation: The world presents us with a false notion of truth and freedom – “truth is relative so I choose my own criteria for what is true” and freedom means “I can do whatever I please – regardless of what God or others might think.” This confusion only gets compounded when civil laws make legal many things which are contrary to the laws of God, and the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church – abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage, to name a few. This is really a mask for slavery to one’s passions and desires – to do what “me, myself and I” will versus humbly submitting ourselves to live our lives according to the will of God. Jesus offers his disciples true freedom – freedom from slavery to pride and arrogance – disbelief and ignorance – selfishness and greed – hatred and revenge – fear and anxiety – despair and depression – and a host of many other hurtful desires and addictions which cripple our lives.
Prayer: Enlighten, O God of compassion, the hearts of your children, sanctified by penance, and in your kindness grant those you stir to a sense of devotion a gracious hearing when they cry out to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: The good news is that Jesus Christ has truly set us free from sin and its destructive force in our lives. How is this possible? Through the gift and power of the Holy Spirit we can choose to renounce sin, we choose to live up to the challenges put forth to us by Christ in the Gospel, and in doing so we can yield to God’s grace which enables us to walk each day and each moment in Christ’s way of love and holiness. A “disciple” is a “follower” and a “listener.” If we want to be a true follower of Christ and live as his disciples, then we must listen to the words of Jesus, with a humble and teachable spirit, and put Jesus’ words into action in our daily lives. As we listen with faith and obey with trust, Christ himself gives us grace – the enabling power of his Holy Spirit – to live, think, and act in the truth of his word. Come to believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit – it can change each of our lives and set us free to walk in Christ’s way of love and holiness.