40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Lent, 06 April 2022 Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 <'((((>< + ><))))'> John 8:31-42
Dear God our Father: I have heard it so often from your Son Jesus Christ that "the truth will set you free" but I must admit how I feel too far from that reality of being truly free. So many times in my life, despite my strong profession of being free like the Pharisees asserting to Jesus they have never been "enslaved to anyone", that is really when I am enslaved - to sin, to ego, to the world, to my past especially my hurts and pains, and to a lot of other people expecting a lot from me, demanding so much from me that, ironically and funnily, I work so hard to please and fulfill without realizing how I am in fact enslaved!
Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “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.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”John 8:31-33
To be free, O God, is to belong to you alone, our loving and eternal Father; from the very start, Jesus had always professed his belonging to you like when he was found by his parents in the temple when he told them "why are you looking for me, don't you know I should be in my Father's house?"; during his ministry, he repeatedly declared his oneness with you; to be free, therefore, is to owe nothing to anyone at all but to you alone. It is when I feel I owe others when I begin to cheat and lie, when I sin because I cannot express freely and truly what is in me - YOU whom I disown and betray always.
Give me, O Lord, the courage to be my true self like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who boldly declared to King Nebuchadnezzar they would rather be thrown into the fiery furnace than worship false gods; true freedom is when we are able to accept death gladly and wholeheartedly because that is when nothing and no one holds us back; we are truly free when we are able to express our deepest longing and desires in life which is to finally be one with our source and end - YOU!
In these remaining days of Lent, grant us dear Father through Jesus the grace to shed off the many layers of false freedom we convince ourselves to have so that we may finally be free to love you and follow you, free to be our true selves as your beloved children. Amen.