Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Christ Set Us Free

October 12, 2010
Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

The Pharisee was amazed to see that (Jesus) did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. (Luke 11:38-39)

Let your love come to me, LORD, salvation in accord with your promise.
Let me answer my taunters with a word, for I trust in your word.
Do not take the word of truth from my mouth, for in your edicts is my hope.
I will keep your teachings always, for all time and forever.
I will walk freely in an open space because I cherish your precepts.
I will speak openly of your decrees without fear even before kings.
I delight in your commands, which I dearly love. (Psalm 119: 42-47)

There is such delight and hope in the words of Paul and the song of the psalmist. Christ set us free! Paul, who was imprisoned and harassed by Romans, Christians and Jews alike could say this. He knew that in the freedom which Christ gave him, human bonds were potentially painful and even lethal but actually irrelevant to his life.

The psalmist sings gratitude for God’s word which directs and guides human life And I delight in your commands which I dearly love. I am certainly not one who feels that commands are freeing. Personally I tend to itch under “commands” delivered by another unless I see rational use and good consequences from them. Earlier in the psalm, there is a verse: I am a sojourner in the land; do not hide your commands from me. (Psalm 119:19) The psalmist was, as Paul was, as I am and as you are, sojourners in this world where it is easy to lose our way and become slaves to the illusions of the world. Jesus pointed this out to the Pharisee - that adherence to laws which were about appearance rather than commitment of heart and spirit are a form of slavery. They did not free but rather allowed people to hide their innermost, corrupted selves from the world. But Jesus assured the Pharisee that God knows.

God’s commands free because God’s word guides and directs us to the heart of God. God’s word, incarnate in Jesus, shows us how the word came to life on the roads of Galilee and today on the roads of Fairfax, Virginia, the office buildings in D.C., the churches, homes, playgrounds and businesses of the world.

Today we can find ourselves all too easily slipping into the slavery of being busy. Not that all busy is wrong! But are our involvements enslaving us? This week, in one of those busy, pressed moments, take 20 minutes and spend them with God. Carve out a slice of what would normally be filled with some other activity. Pray a rosary, take quiet prayer time, or attend Mass in the middle of your day.

If you feel distracted and pressured, pray: “I choose freedom in you, Lord Jesus.”