READINGS for 2008-10-13
…stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1
You know that Abraham had two sons, right? Isaac was born from Sarah, the “freeborn woman.” He is therefore the “son of freedom” born through God’s promise. The other son, Ishmael, was born from Hagar, an Egyptian slave-girl. We Christians trace our roots to Isaac. We are children of freedom and of the promise — not from the slave-girl. But because of sin, we became enslaved.
When Jesus died on the cross He freed us from the slavery of sin! It is like being in prison. Then Jesus came, holding the key to freedom, and opening the prison door.
But know what? Some people choose to stay inside their prison cells. They somehow enjoy living inside. They feel comfortable and secure being in prison. They even mocked Jesus for opening the prison door and questioned him, “Who told you to free us?” Others walk out but, for some reason, would go back inside their cells. They feel more at home being in prison. But the good news is, more people walk out to gain their freedom. They continue to shout to the whole world: I’m free! Alvin Barcelona
Are you still in prison? Have you gone back to being imprisoned? Or are you now a free man proclaiming to the world that Jesus freed you?
O Lord, You have freed me from the slavery of sin. By Your grace I am no longer a slave but a friend of God. Amen.
Paul’s argument here does not really work as he wants it to but his message is clear enough, namely, to put our trust in faith in Jesus and not in what we can achieve through our own strength in obedience to the Law. There is always a bit of a tension here in that we cannot totally disregard the Law as we seek to put our faith in Jesus. It is just that obedience to the Law and obedience to faith have different foci. Both are
necessary but for different reasons.
Galatians 4: 22-24, 26-27, 31–5:1
22 Brothers and sisters: It is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman. 23 The son of the slave woman was born naturally, the son of the freeborn through a promise. 24 Now this is an allegory. These women represent two covenants. One was from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar. 26 But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:“Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children; break forth and shout, you who were not in labor; for more numerous are the children of the deserted one than of her who has a husband.” 31 Therefore, brothers, we are children not of the slave woman but of the freeborn woman. 5: 1 For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
P S A L M
Psalm 113: 1b-2 , 3-4, 5a and 6-7
R: Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever.
1 Praise, you servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Blessed be the name of the LORD both now and forever. (R) 3 From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the LORD to be praised. 4 High above all nations is the LORD; above the heavens is his glory. (R) 5 Who is like the LORD, our God, who 6 looks upon the heavens and the earth below? 7 He raises up the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill he lifts up the poor. (R)
G O S P E L
Doubt always seems to be close to the surface in our lives of faith. We keep on looking for signs. How many signs should we need to be able to put our faith in God? I do not have a universal answer to that question – maybe it is different for different people. However, I do believe that there comes a time in all of our lives when we have to get to the point and decide what we are going to do with our lives, sign or no sign!
29 While still more people gathered in the crowd, he said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. 30 Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. 32 At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
think:We keep on looking for signs. How many signs should we need to be able to put our faith in God?
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Sirach 21-23
FREEDOM: WHAT IS IT REALLY?
What does it really mean to be free? Often, when we reflect upon the meaning of freedom, we take it to mean as “being free from some sort of constraint.” In the context of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, the constraint we are considering is sin. However, I believe this is the wrong way of looking at freedom. When humanity was first given freedom at the time of Creation there was no such reality as sin. Therefore, freedom was not “freedom from some sort of constraint” but “freedom to embrace the love and will of God.” We should view freedom in a positive sense and not a negative one. The freedom that God gives us at Creation and then again through our Redemption is a freedom that enables us to embrace our true identity and purpose in life — to seek and find our God.
In today’s world, our focus when we theorize about “freedom” is too caught up in secular and materialistic realities as freedom from constraints that stop us from expressing who we are and what we want to be and do at the time of our choosing. This is a misplaced understanding and use of the freedom given us by God, and more often than not, will end in abuse and selfishness.
Jesus tells us in the Gospels that He came to serve and not to be served. Here He is telling us that the proper and greater use of our freedom is found in loving and serving God and one another. Those who end their lives with the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment are those who have embraced this understanding and use of their freedom. Only when we discover this truth and live it for ourselves will we be able to fully appreciate it and embrace it. It is as though each of us needs to have a Copernican revolution where we discover the truth that life and fulfillment revolves not around us but around love and service to others. This is the innovation of the Gospel and the true expression of freedom. Fr. Steve Tynan
What is freedom for me? How do I express the freedom Christ has given me through my redemption from sin?
Jesus, You alone have lived a fully free life in the history of the world. Help me to embrace the gift of freedom as You see it and give it to me.
St. Edward the confessor, pray for us.
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