Freedom is not free…
But we are free because the Lord has delivered us!
“Brothers and sisters: I should like you to be free of anxieties.”
There was a lot of anxiety in 1897. The people of Scranton had scrimped and saved to build a church. The parish they had built, that their generous donations supported, didn’t want them. They had been ejected from their former parish by a cruel pastor who demanded only obedience, who derided the hard working people, threatening them will hellfire. He sought only to be the lord and master of the people.
Think of their anxiety. They were outcasts, without a parish, without a pastor, without a spiritual home. Their investment in a spiritual home was gone and its doors were shut to them. In their anxiety they reached out to God and in doing so found comfort in a pastor, a shepherd who made the grace of God available once again. Not a pastor who demanded to be their lord and master, but a pastor who was their brother, teacher, and guide; a pastor whose heart was for the people.
God sent Ś.P. Bishop Hodur to take their commission. He let them know the one key way to alleviate anxiety. It was not submission to priests, bishops, and a pope who defined themselves as royalty, as lords and masters, but instead knowledge of the one Lord and Savior who frees us.
Bishop Hodur showed them the true Jesus who came to give us His word, to teach us, to show us the way to the Father. He showed them that Jesus was not preparing hellfire for His people, but rather the joys of heaven. He pointed and led to Jesus who takes up every one of our anxieties, big and small, and frees us; Jesus, who promises us joy.
Today we honor our freedom as we exercise our voice and vote in our annual parish meeting. This freedom was hard won, but has given us the best of all churches – one that is fully Catholic and fully democratic.
The people of Scranton took their anxiety to the Lord and He showed them the way, provided for them. Let us too rely on the Lord who has made us free.