The type of freedom we all need
This weekend I will be away from the parish. I am taking advantage of Deacon Bob’s preaching and the close proximity of my good friend, Fr. Tom Doyle who will be celebrating Mass here this weekend. I do hope all of you have a blessed, safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!
Last weekend our second reading from the Apostle Paul spoke about a peculiar type of freedom that Christians enjoy. He wrote:
“Brothers and sisters:
“For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
“For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Paul is talking about the type of freedom that allows us to cooperate with God in order to become the Saints we are called to be. The freedom that speaks of our dignity as children of God and liberates us from slavery to feelings, passions, hurts, fears, and selfishness. For Paul, freedom is not doing anything we want to do, but the ability to freely do what God has created us to do and to embrace the will of God.
This is the type of freedom that we all need and it is a freedom worth pondering on this Fourth of July weekend.
Commenting on Jesus’ healing of the leper (Luke 5:12-16) at the June 22nd Wednesday general audience, his final audience before taking a summer pause, Pope Francis spoke about the leper’s plea to Jesus: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
“I will confide something personal to you,” Pope Francis told the faithful and pilgrims gathered in a sunny St. Peter’s Square. “In the evening, before going to bed, I pray this short prayer: ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.’ (Luke 5:12). And I pray five ‘Our Fathers,’ one for each of Jesus’ wounds, because Jesus has cleansed us by his wounds.”
“If I do this, you can too, at your home, and say: ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean’ and think of Jesus’ wounds and say one ‘Our Father’ for each of them. Jesus always hears us,” he said.
I recommend that we try this, each of us, in our homes.
Questions to ponder this week:
*How does the freedom that Saint Paul talks about (see my letter above) different from our American understanding of freedom?
*For “freedom Christ set us free” … Have you experienced this? What areas of your life do you need/wish to allow Christ to set you free?