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Lent Week 5 Wednesday - The Truth will set you free

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Readings: Daniel 3: 14-20, 91-92, 95; Daniel 3: 52-56; John 8: 31-42

Freedom is much prized in contemporary Western secular thought: at the political level, wars are fought to bring ‘freedom’ to the population of various countries, while at the level of the individual, the freedom to do whatever you want (perhaps with the proviso that it shouldn’t harm anyone else) appears to be the basics of popular ethics. Of course, the pursuit of freedom independent from God is not a new thing: we find it in the book of Genesis, in the story of the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9) and, indeed, in the sin of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:1-7).

And yet in today’s readings we are reminded that autonomy is not true freedom. In the book of Daniel, the three young men choose death rather than worshipping false gods (though that would have preserved their life and autonomy), because they understand that sin is a more radical rejection of their God-given freedom even than loss of life. This is because true human freedom is the freedom to flourish as human beings. Sin does thus indeed, as Our Lord says, enslave us (Jn 8: 34), since it prevents us from sharing in the life of God: that sharing in his life is the purpose for which he made us, and so only in him can our human nature fully flourish.

But how, sinners that we are, can we escape that slavery? Our Lord tells us in today’s Gospel: it is the truth that will set us free (Jn 8: 32). How, though, do we come to share in that truth? By being disciples of him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life and who, by his free choice, suffered death and rose again that we might share in his life.

Gregory Pearson OP


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