Dn 3:14-20,91-92,95 / Dn 3:52-56
If you abide by my word, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
This world's freedom can never win
True peace for all eternity ...
Break away from the chains of sin,
Seek God's Word that can set us free.
Jesus told the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide by my word, you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.” They answered, “Abraham is our father.” “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.” They protested, “We are not illegitimate children. The only Father we have is God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.” (John 8:31-42)
The Jews thought Jesus was talking about political freedom, liberation from the Romans, since Israel was then under the dominion of Rome. But Jesus was speaking of spiritual freedom, the freedom from sin and alienation from God. Many of us are not far removed from the error of the Jews in Jesus’ time if we think freedom means being independent, possessing the power of choice to do “whatever I wish to do as I please.” This is certainly not the kind of freedom that Jesus was teaching, because this form of liberalism only leads us away from the truth.
The kind of “liberation” that this materialistic age is selling today is a harmful license that has given free rein to the spread of wanton behavior, such as substance abuse, immorality, abortion, murder, and all the evils of a permissive society. In the end, it is not freedom at all, but a deceptive illusion, and a millstone that the prince of lies has tied around the sinner’s neck to drown him in the depths of sin and despair.
What our Lord is teaching in today’s Gospel reading is the freedom from the bondage of sin, from which only the truth of the Gospel can liberate us. Jesus is teaching us that if we abide by His Word, the Holy Spirit will empower and guide us to live our lives according to God’s will. Let us use our free will to uncover all the truths that we need to learn and are available to us in Scriptures. Let us not be deceived by the lures of this earthly kingdom that are temporal and subject to corruption. After all, we cannot pursue the world’s pleasures and remain in God’s Word at the same time. For “no man can serve two masters” (Mt.6:24). Especially in this season of Lent, let us spend more time reading God’s Word in the Bible, rather than indulging in worldly activities that only distract us from our true purpose in life.
Thank you, Jesus, for Your Word, which has freed us from the bondage of sin and ignorance, and has become the sword and armor in our lives. Amen.