Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word.
I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.” They said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s world, the idea of freedom has been distorted. We live in a country where our freedoms are protected, but we turn our backs and choose to enslave ourselves. As a result, like the Jews in the Gospel, we are oppressed by our own sin and allow the temptation of wealth, power, honor, and pleasure to control us. True freedom, as Jesus demonstrates, is not license, but rather becoming the person God wills us to be.
Just as Jesus obeyed the Father’s will and died for all of humanity, we too must show obedience to God. I often find myself focused on my own desires and inattentive to what God intends for me. How often do we close our minds and hearts to the will of God? This Lent, let us be sure to listen and discern God’s will for us through prayer. Let us humbly obey God’s word and allow the truth to set us free.
—Andrew Perz is a senior at St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland OH.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. All I have and possess. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. All is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.
—St. Ignatius Loyola