April 1, 2009
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
John 8: 31-42
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 a 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.”
Introductory Prayer: Blessed Trinity, I thank you for your goodness and the opportunity to commune with you. Stir up in my heart an ardent longing for you, and enable me to live with greater love and obedience to your blessed will.
Petition: Lord Jesus, only your word can lead me to the fullness of life and freedom. Grant me the grace I need to listen to and heed your teaching.
1. Identifying Our Slaveries.
The worse slaveries are those judged to be freedoms, and the only thing worse than not having a redeemer is thinking we don’t need one. God permits me to experience limitation and temptation to lead me to the firm conviction that I need Christ. Without Christ, life constantly gives birth to tortuous paths leading from nowhere to no place, fruitless spinning of wheels and existential frustrations. And what’s worse, this futility can become the source of pride, cynicism and the bitter sarcasm that ridicules all that can lead to its cure. The Pharisees should have been the first ones to accept and rally behind Christ. They were the spiritual and political leaders that could have become instruments of God by proclaiming Christ as Messiah and becoming his apostles. However, for some mysterious reason, they reject the very One they existed to prepare Israel for.
2. Freed by Truth.
Only Christ can free the human person from his fears, complexes, insecurities and brokenness. The experience of Christ’s love and friendship heals human nature profoundly: “If the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.” The more we come to Christ, the more we open ourselves to him, the more complete, secure and “holier” we become. Putting Christ off will eventually lead to rejecting him. We can put up only so long with his ongoing challenge to our deep attachments. If we do not strive to live the truth, we will end up fabricating a truth to the measure of our liking.
3. No Christ, Only Vicious Self-Defense.
Failing to accept the one possible means of salvation leaves us at the mercy of our own devices, our self-defense and self-justification mechanisms. Friendship with Christ and opening our lives to the redemption he works produces the deepest human fulfillment. We are deeply drawn to the Savior, but to come to him, we need to keep accepting and practicing his teaching.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, save me from my own devices. Never allow pride or arrogance to encumber my loving and joyful acceptance of your message and way in my life.
Resolution: I will resist the temptation to justify myself today in other’s eyes or mine. I will reject completely any tendency of building myself up by tearing others down.
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