Reading 1: DN 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
Psalm: DN 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
Gospel: JN 8:31-42
Today’s readings present to us a choice between true freedom and false freedom. In the Book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are offered two options: worship the Babylonian golden idol, or be put to death in a fiery furnace. Which choice would make them truly free? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego recognize that death was preferable to life living the lie of worshiping a false god.
In the Gospel, Jesus argues with Jews who think they can faithfully follow God without following him, and claim that they are free people as they are descendants of Abraham. Jesus responds by telling them that as sinners, they have become enslaved by sin and lost their true freedom. He even offers this example of their enslavement: “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me.”
Life lived without following Jesus leads inevitably to slavery to sin and a loss of true freedom. We can say that we are a “good person” or that we “follow the rules” but we must examine our own lives: have I lived a virtuous life in the times I have not walked with the Lord, or have these times been marked by slavery to sins I couldn’t overcome on my own?
Jesus tells us “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Society tells us that freedom means freedom from all of God’s boring rules. Today’s readings show how this is freedom falsely promised, leading inevitably to slavery to sin. The truth will set you free.