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 â€œChurch.â€ 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.Â 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 youâ€™ll find happiness. We clearly see that those alleged happinessâ€™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, â€˜they had no choice,â€™ 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.