(A Commentary on John 8: 31-42)
Daily Reflection – 3/24/2021
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.” (John 8:31-42)
One of the oft quoted sentences in modern day life comes from today’s Gospel: . . .“and the truth will set you free.”
The problem is that it has been taken out of context from Jesus’ teaching. Making it even more twisted is that politics has co-opted it.
The truth is that Jesus offers us true freedom — freedom from the slavery of fear, the slavery of selfishness, freedom from the fear of what others might think or say about us, and freedom from hurtful desires and the power of sin.
Let’s call it as it is. Following Jesus Christ is a way of life. If it isn’t then we are playing games with ourselves. Faith isn’t real until it touches our attitudes and, above all, our concrete choices. To “remain” in the word of Christ means to conform our lives to his life and his virtues, especially the virtue of charity, which is the very essence of Christian doctrine and morality. To “remain” in his word is, as some would say, “to walk the walk.”
We can’t remain in the word of God unless we’re seeking to immerse ourselves in it. If we do this, Jesus says, we will really be his disciples, because we’re only his disciples if we’re putting what he teaches us into practice.
If we are not, then we are inventing some form of a therapeutic Christianity to make us feel good because we are not willing to make the choice to set ourselves free. The temptation to separate faith and practice is never far from us.
The freedom promised by Christ to those who remain in his word is much deeper than the freedom offered by the world. Christ’s freedom is not simply political freedom. Neither is it the ability to choose whatever I want when I want, and how I want. The freedom of Christ’s disciple is spiritual, moral, and interior; it is the freedom for which every person longs for in the depths of his/her heart.
God wants more than a relationship of mere trust. He wants a particular type of trust, the confidence of a child in a loving parent. He wants to us to live our divine filiation, to remember we are the beloved sons and daughters of the Father described in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
To know Jesus, to love Jesus, to follow Jesus is the way to God and it is in God and only in God that we will find true happiness, freedom, and peace. But the only way to know the truth of that statement is to experience it personally.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, write your words of love and truth upon my heart and make me a worthy disciple of your word.”
How many people do you know today that have no room in their lives for the Word? How many people do you know who if they allowed the word in their hearts, that word would threaten their lifestyles? I know too many, too many good people who are so busy with the details of life that the word of God literally has no room to take root in their souls. No room to exert its transformative power and as a result they remain enslaved by their lives and the all-unimportant details that consume them.
One thing in this life is important: To live the word. Everything else is secondary and once you begin to live the word everything else falls into place. The word truly frees.