It is a scenario perhaps many are familiar. Moments of triumph, cheers, where good feeling abounds. All seems right with the world. Yet, there is a sense that something is not right, that all is not being said. Jesus experienced similar paradox on the triumphant ride into Jerusalem. Although Jesus wanted the good time to last, he knew it would not. There were too many things against him: standing up for the outcast, advocating for the poor, attending to the sick, and being compassionate to those in difficulty. Bringing God’s compassion seemed to get Jesus into trouble. Others experienced something similar, Oscar Romero, Mahatma Gandhi, the women martyrs of El Salvador and too many to name. All knew at some level that being who they are and standing up for non-violence, the poor and marginalized could mean their lives.
What then allowed them to continue their journey? They embraced freedom which resonated with their deep sense of the Divine. They continued on the path they chose even though they “knew” at some level that the result could be tragic. They responded to life out of a sense of freedom and love.
Freedom allows life to unfold. Freedom involves a response to what is best for the common good. The opposite of freedom is control, restraint, putting limitations on situations and allowing them to define who we are. Freedom is not passive, freedom involves unfolding. Freedom propels us to speak the truth in love and to listen.
In the words of Paul to the Philippians from the Christian scriptures: Jesus emptied and humbled himself, Jesus was obedient. In other words, God’s compassion filled Jesus’ life not ambitions or adulations. Jesus was open to divine life within. Jesus knew the truth about himself and God, and listened deeply to the Wisdom of God. Jesus experienced freedom. We, too, take time to know the truth about ourselves and the ways our creating God works within us to create freedom of spirit.
We enter our Holy Days unencumbered.
Lent invites us to embrace freedom.
Blessings and peace.
Suggestions for reflection: What does inner freedom mean to me? Take some moments of quiet to listen to the Spirit deep within–what do I “hear”? What is the cost of inner freedom for me?