Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31–5:1;Psalm 113:1-7; Luke 11:29-32
Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
“For freedom Christ set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)
Slavery is a painful topic to think about. There is nothing worse than imagining ourselves or our loved ones being owned by another person. From ancient times even to the present day, there have been people who have no qualms about holding others enslaved—and it always leads to pain and suffering.
Today’s first reading tells us that slavery can be spiritual as well as physical. We can be enslaved to sin or even to the lies of the devil. But the great news is that Jesus is more than able to set us free. Each and every one of us can know full liberation in Christ!
But if Jesus really has set us free, why does he still expect us to follow so many rules? And why do his closest friends tend to call themselves his servants? Isn’t freedom about being able to do what we think is best for us and not having to follow someone else?
Here’s where we need to make an important distinction. Yes, our Father does want us to obey his commands, but only because he knows what is best for us. He gives us his laws so that we can flourish and become more and more like his Son. Sin, on the other hand, does not have our best interests in mind—and neither does the devil. All they want is to darken the image of God in us so that we are no longer able to reach our full potential in Christ.
What’s more, God asks us to choose to obey him; the devil wants to take away our free will and treat us more like his puppets than his partners. Our God is not a slave driver. He is a loving Father who delights in showering us with his love and grace every day. Yes, he expects us to obey him, but he is exceedingly generous in helping us every step of the way—and in filling us with joy as we follow him!
Jesus really did come to set us free—free to know his love and receive his grace. Let’s step into that freedom by choosing the path of grace-filled obedience!
“Jesus, help me to believe in your love for me. Come, Lord, and empower me to remain faithful to you.” ~WAU