Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
The truth sets us free
Jesus then said… “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 tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.” …they said to him, “We are not illegitimate. 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. Jn 8,31-42
The sin enslaves; the knowledge of the truth sets free and the way to realize it is to accept the message of the gospel and to become disciples of Jesus. This is the announcement which is addressed to us today and on which we have to meditate. The fact that the sin makes us slaves is evidenced by the consideration that every sin is repetitive and this is up to the point that often the person ends up losing even his dignity. It is enough to think what st. Paul calls the works of the flesh: “immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outburst of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies and the like” (Gal 5,19-21). And the list would be much longer: lies, affection for the money, drugs, abuses and others. The hidden director, which ripens the fruits of the flesh, is the devil. He, using situations, events, things and people which the life presents to us, begins to make inroads in that sin, where our resistance is the weakest. That sin becomes afterword repetitive, it extends to others until the whole person is invaded, as an enemy army which, having made a breach at one point, occupies and devastates the whole country. Today, the Lord announces to us that, to be freed from the slavery of these sins, we must accept his “word” and become his “disciples”: by this way we will know the truth and this will make us free. But what truth are we going to know by following Jesus? It is a global truth, which has the characteristics of a journey, in that it is progressive. It is a school to which we enroll and where, during the course, the truth about Jesus, about ourselves, about the world and history is explained. It’s like to move from the vision of the back of a rug which shows only a tangle of wires to its front, where the design is clear and makes sense. Most important, we can breathe in the front of the carpet an air of freedom whose fruits, such as saint Paul tells us, are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. In a nutshell: all the ingredients to live with joy and transmit it to others.