When we were teenagers, there were many reasons for which we looked forward to high school graduation. Graduation was a milestone — the completion of a major part of our education.
We looked forward to graduation because we thought “we could finally do what we wanted to do!” No more “high school rules” — if we were moving out of the house — we would no longer have to live by our parents’ rules. We were going to be FREE TO DO WHAT WE WANTED.
Soon we would find out, whether we went to college or into the military or into the workforce, someone else had rules we needed to follow. There were deadlines for school assignments, there was someone barking orders at us, or there were schedules we had to keep.
Those who entered into marriage soon came to realize that, while there were many privileges, there were also many responsibilities in marriage. Being a WE was very different than being an “I”. Being a couple was different than being single.
We learned: Being free from some things did not mean we were free to do whatever we wanted to do.
It is a happy coincidence that on the weekend before we celebrate our national independence, we hear scriptures that refer to freedom and to commitment.
As our nation won independence from England, it realized that it was not free from governmental authority. There was a King and a Parliament — now there was a President and a Congress.
“No taxes without representation” did not mean no taxes.
The freedom to choose leadership did not mean we would always have a leadership that would be universally accepted.
So, too with faith.
In our Baptism, we gain freedom from eternal death — and the promise of eternal life. At the same time, we are given a candle to remind us, and to challenge us, that we are to be light in the midst of darkness. We are to bind ourselves to Jesus as Jesus has now bound himself to us. We are further challenged not to squander our gift of freedom.
In Galatians 5:1,13-18 — St. Paul reminds us “for freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
A slave must yield with blind obedience to the master — or possibly face death. A slave has no freedom to choose his/her work duties — or the hours of work. A slave has no freedom to go where he/she wants to go. A slave has no freedom to retire.
Christ has set us free — so that we do not become a slave to blind obedience. Christ has set us free so as not to become a slave to any form of addiction. Christ has set us free so as not to become a slave to any political ideology. We have been set free so as not to show total allegiance to any person.
St. Paul reminds us not to use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; but rather, to serve one another through love.
In a reflection published in NCRonline on Friday – June 27th, Jocelyn A. Sideco, in commenting in support of the students and staff of Brebeuf Jesuit Prepatory School, said,
The Gospel (Luke 9:51-62) invites us to see what walking with Jesus might be like…. we are called to prioritize God and God’s providence and God’s mysterious ways….Whenever someone asked about tending to a personal responsibility, Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what he has left behind.”
The kin-dom of God requires our full attention, our full being, our full devotion.
We must be compelled to see “this” through to the end.
I consider myself a proud American. As I age, I am more committed to “wearing the colors” to show support to our nation — to our values — to the men and women who defend our principles and our values. The Red, White, and Blue make me proud.
I do not support the occupant of the White House — but I support our nation and for what we stand. And, I am FREE TO DO SO.
As people of God — we render to “Caesar” what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. We are citizens of earth for a short period of time and citizens of heaven for eternity.
We have been made FREE — we cannot surrender to slavery either for the sake of our nation or for the sake of God.
Our freedom allows us to choose — to choose as the Spirit guides us — as our conscience directs us.
We are not a slave to a political party or ideology. We are not slaves to “liberal” or “conservative” teachings. We are not slaves to the temptations of pleasure. We are free to act as we believe the SPIRIT IS CALLING US.
I am NOT FREE to do as I wish or please. I am free to act in accord to what I sincerely believe the Spirit is directing me to do.
Am I a slave to anyone or anything? Am I living in the freedom God has given to me. With God’s freedom, we might be nervous — but not afraid. With God’s freedom, we might be concerned — but not worried. With God’s freedom, we are not beholding to a group, but clear in conscience to act as we believe to be right.
Jesus died that we might be free — let us not fall into slavery to any one or any thing.