For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love… I say, then: live by the Spirit

This week we approach the Fourth of July, and coincidentally, St. Paul is talking about freedom. 

We are, after all, pretty blessed by the freedoms we enjoy. Bishop Hodur and the organizers of our Holy Church made a big deal over the freedom this country espoused. After all, they were able, with only some opposition and persecution, able to organize a democratic Catholic Church without bowing to the money, political power, and influence of the Roman Church in areas of the country where they were they were the definition of “Church.” Hodur and the faithful were able to buy property, publish newspapers and pamphlets, build, educate, exercise support of Union membership, and advocate for the power of collective ownership. Pretty strong ideas and ideals, even today.

That kind of radical freedom was successful and blessed not because of actions, advocacy, or loud voices among a group of people. Rather it was from the fact that this group of people recognized and truly believed in the true freedom found only Christ Jesus. Christ set us free, and with His freedom came their and our ability and power.

Freedom means we no longer bow to any slavery. There is no slavery to politics and power. There is no slavery to money. There is no slavery to calls from the worldly – do this and that and you’ll find happiness. We clearly see that those alleged happiness’s come at the cost of a yoke and chains, bondage – slavery. In Christ we have power and ability to say no to slavery.

Freedom means power to use what we have been given for good that goes beyond simple measurement and scales. It is a freedom and power to be self-sacrificial, to go the extra mile, to go beyond even the extra.

The philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote on ‘radical freedom.’ Along our faith lines he posited that everyone always has a choice, and every act is a free act. He noted that those who say, ‘they had no choice,’ are lying. In Christ we have a call to freedom and honesty. So then, with St. Paul let us say I am free, and I live by the Spirit.

Thank God for freedom

Today we celebrate Independence Day. Let us pause to give thanks for the freedoms we have as citizens of the United States and as members of our Church. Let us pray that these freedoms remain and are protected in law, in spirit, and in the life of our Church.

Independence Day is a day that is special to the heart of every Polish National Catholic. Our parents, grandparents, as well as members of our parishes to this day, have come to the United States not just for economic opportunity but also to live within the spirit of freedom.

When our ancestors’ former Church continued to oppress their freedoms, treating them as obedient servants only, with their pastors and bishops as a sort of exclusive royalty, they struck back by organizing a true Church that upholds the Holy Catholic faith and operates as a free society.

In our Church, as in our country, every person has a voice and a vote. In our Church, women have voted and participated in its democratic traditions even before women had a right to vote in our country. In our Church the clergy are not an aloof, royal class, but co-workers with the laity. We are a Church of liberty, freedom, and equality.

Let us give thanks this Independence Day for our free country and our free Church.