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Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, teach me how to love you more as I reflect on your words today. I want to live in your freedom and truth.
- Formation Moment: Christ was speaking with those Jews who believed he was the Messiah. He was teaching them that his word is truth and has the power to set them free from sin. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Christ reaches through time and space to us, his modern disciples, with the same message. He invites us to read the word, meditate on it, memorize it, internalize it. “Then, you will be free.” What an outstanding promise he makes to us! Christ has taken the initiative to share with us the true meaning of life and to reconcile us with God the Father.
- Blocked by Pride: As Christ was inviting them into a closer encounter with himself, the Jews were getting annoyed.“We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved,” they said. They had obviously forgotten certain parts of their history—Egypt and Babylon, for example. They were stuck in their pride and wedded to their own perspective. When Christ enters into our life he completely changes the way we view the world and the way we view ourselves. He invites us to see the world from his perspective, and understand what behaviors will truly bring about freedom.
- Freedom?: The Jews looked at freedom as freedom from outside forces, like occupation by the Romans. Christ was offering them internal freedom, the freedom from sin. It is freedom from sin that leads us to our full potential. “Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude” (CCC 1731).
Conversing with Christ: While I so often focus on life’s externals, I know that you desire to touch my interior life. You want to transform my soul and the attitudes of my life. I want to love my Father the way you do. Help me also to love you more, Jesus.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will offer a spiritual communion.
For Further Reflection: Catechism of the Catholic Church: FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY.
Father Joshua West is a Legionary of Christ priest serving as chaplain at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.