Wednesday of Week 5 of Lent – Gospel

Commentary on John 8:31-42

Contentious dialogue between Jesus and the Jews continues in today’s Gospel reading. There are some sayings here which we would do well to reflect on deeply.

If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

The Pharisees take umbrage at that statement. As descendants of Abraham, they were never slaves to anyone. But in fact, in the long history of their people, the Jews were almost continuously enslaved by invading powers. However, the slavery Jesus speaks about is the slavery of sin.

In responding to Jesus’ words, how many of us who want to be disciples of Christ have truly made his word our ‘home’? How many of us have to admit that we are not really very familiar with Jesus’ word in the New Testament? Yet we cannot truly follow him unless we are steeped in that word.

As well, how many of us really believe that the truth about life, communicated to us through Jesus, makes us genuinely free? How many of us experience our commitment to Christianity as a liberation? How many have left the Church because they felt suffocated and wanted to be free?

What freedom were they looking for? For many, being a Christian is sacrificing freedom in exchange for a promise of a future existence of pure happiness. We can say with confidence that, if we do not find being a Christian a liberating experience here and now, we do not really understand the true nature of our Christian faith. Jesus said:

If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God, and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.

To know Jesus, to love Jesus and to follow Jesus is the way to God, and it is in God, and only in God, that we will find true happiness, freedom and peace. But the only way to know the truth of that statement is to experience it personally.

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