Wednesday, April 1, 2009
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."
Class of 2010
In many ways we are like the people Jesus is addressing in this reading. If we were to be asked if we were enslaved, we would most likely respond with a resounding no. Slavery brings to mind images of imprisonment, destitution, and lack of sovereignty. We do not experience these trials and tribulations, and in the traditional sense of the word, no, we are not slaves. Yet if we look beyond our initial definition of "slave", we too may come to realize that we are indeed slaves. As Jesus states in John's Gospel, anyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. If we re-examine our initial definition of slavery, we can now see that we are slaves as sin does indeed imprison us. We are all sinners in one way or another, and it is our transgressions which lead us into slavery. It is of our own free will that we are led into this captivity, and it is only with the love of the Son that we can be freed.
It is in accepting the word of God, and living in his image that we can truly be freed. Jesus continually reminds us of this, particularly in today's reading. We must make room in our lives for our Father's presence; else wise we will remain imprisoned. We must do the works of our Father, and in doing so will achieve ultimate liberation- a life where we strive to be free of sin, and are free from the bondages of wrongdoing.