Monday, October 13, 2014

Christ is Freedom for Me and You

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. …For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.   (Galatians 5: 1, 6)

(Jesus said in reply) You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” (Luke 11: 40-41)

Jesus, I feel within me
A great desire to please you but, at the same time,
I feel totally incapable of doing this without your special light and help,
Which I can expect only from you.
Accomplish your will within me – even in spite of me.
        (St. Claude La Colombiere, SJ)

A recent study conducted out of the University of Southern California and reported on a National Public Radio broadcast, looked at the possibility that politicians who sponsor legislation aimed at curbing suspected voter fraud could be acting out of bias. Politicians who sponsor voter fraud legislation were 40% more likely to not answer e-mail questions about voter ID requirements sent by constituents with Latino names than legislative colleagues who did not endorse such legislation.  Questions by constituents with Anglo-sounding names were more often responded to. The study determines in part that “The implication is that discriminatory intent underlies legislative support for voter identification laws.”[i]  What is striking is that many of these civil servants genuinely describe themselves as not racist nor discriminatory.  However it appears that they are being swayed by their internal, perhaps unrecognized, prejudices.

We’ve seen photos of Pope Francis embracing with loving concern juvenile delinquents and others who would not have been tolerated in a Pharisee’s dining room.  Pope Francis, in a homily to the Bishops as the Synod on the Family began, stated:  “’God’s ‘dream’ is his people. He planted it and nurtured it with patient and faithful love, so that it can become a holy people, a people which brings forth abundant fruits of justice.”  How are we loving and holy people bringing fruits of justice while not laying on judgments?

Take a moment to consider with humility a group of people, a person, who grates on your nerves because they do not follow the rules, or does not respect you for your position, or in some way marches to her/his own drum.  Examine that place of irritation within you.  Then reflect on the Other and seek Christ.  Examine the place of freedom within you which opens as you let go of a tiny yoke of internal slavery.  Invite Christ into the space and pray for the Other as well as yourself. 

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