Finding Freedom in Christ
In the gospel reading today Jesus speaks about authentic discipleship, and serving the Lord to be of service to him, not to glorify ourselves. Jesus says something quite perplexing when he says “The scribes and the Pharisees vsit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, wbut not the works they do. xFor they preach, but do not practice.” Why would Jesus say to follow the Pharisees but don’t follow their example? I believe he was saying that their scriptural teachings about the law were accurate and should be followed, but for the Pharisees it was more of an intellectual pursuit, not a spiritual one. They seemed to enjoy all the attention, and being held up above others in their teaching. However, it wasn’t a heart issue with the Pharisees, or at least with some of them, it was more about law then relationship.
I believe too that Jesus saw that they were missing one key ingredient in their relationship with God, and that was Freedom. This is the freedom that can only come from a loving, spirit lead relationship with God.
Never one to pass up a chance to talk about the music of Bob Dylan, there is a verse out of one of his songs that directly speaks about freedom. It goes like this “Then she opened up a book of poems and handed it to me – written by an Italian poet from the fifteenth century. And every one of them words rang true. And glowed like burning coal. Pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul from me to you.” While the song speaks abouta man and woman who are “tangled up” in their lives, Dylan is also referring to Dante’s comedy which Dante outlines his journey from the depths of sin to a freedom where the chains of sin are broken and he can now live a life in Christ.
Pope Francis spoke about freedom as well when he said “May the Lord grant to all of us this paschal Spirit, of going forward along the path of the Spirit without compromises, without rigidity, with the liberty of proclaiming Jesus Christ as He Who has come: in the flesh.”
I think it is key when Pope Francis says “May the Lord grant to all of us, the spirit.” He is reminding us that we are all on this journey together. It is a great lesson to all of us, clergy and faithful alike to work together, and to be humble in our practices and in our service, and to keep our focus and our heart on Jesus and his teachings. Jesus offers us a freedom truly not of this world.
God bless you all, Deacon Dan MacDonald