Jesus 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´?" Jesus answered them, "Amen, amen, I say
to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of
sin. A slave does not remain in a household
forever, but a son always remains. So if a son
frees you, then you will truly be free. I
know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you
are trying to kill me, because my word has no
room among you. I tell you what I have
seen in the Father´s presence; then do what you have
heard from the Father." They answered and said to
him, "Our father is Abraham." Jesus said to them,
"If you were Abraham´s children, you would be doing
the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to
kill me, a man who has told you the
truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do
this. You are doing the works of your father!"
So they said to him, "We were not born
of fornication. We have one Father, God." Jesus said to
them, "If God were your Father, you would love
me, for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are life
and truth and goodness. You are also peace and mercy.
How grateful I am to have this moment to
turn to you. Without you I can do nothing good.
In fact, when I do good, it is you
working through me, despite my failings. Thank you, Lord.
Here I am ready to love you more.
Grant me the grace, Lord, to remain in
your word and to be set free by your truth.
1. A Vibrant Faith: Faith isn’t real until it
touches our attitudes and, above all, our concrete choices.
To “remain” in the word of Christ means to conform
our lives with his life and his virtues, especially
the virtue of charity, which is the very essence of
Christian doctrine and morality. To “remain” in his word
is, as some would say, “to walk the walk.”
In another passage we are told that it is not
those who say “Lord, Lord…” who will enter the
Kingdom, but only those who actually do the Father’s
will in their lives. Remaining in his word is
the stuff of sanctity – it’s also the stuff of
daily perseverance and of knowing how to get up,
dust ourselves off, and begin again each time we
falter or fall along the way. How well do I
“remain” in Christ’s word? Could an impartial observer see
from my attitudes and actions that I follow Christ?
A True Disciple Lives the Truth: Christ seems to
imply that there are true and false disciples. There
is only one way to tell the difference between
the two: whether one actually embraces his word not only
as an ideal, but also as a rule of
life. Today a plethora of voices, even within the
Christian community, would have us follow a purely “therapeutic”
Christianity – a form of Christianity in which we can
supposedly believe in Christ while adopting behaviors or attitudes
which are totally opposed to his “way” of discipleship
as taught authoritatively by the Church. The temptation to
separate faith and practice is never far from us. How
much have these false voices impacted my own understanding
of what it means to follow Christ as a
member of his body, the Church?
3. Authentic Freedom: The
freedom promised by Christ to those who remain in
his word is much deeper than the freedom offered by
the world. Christ’s freedom is not simply a political
freedom. Neither is it the ability to choose whatever
I want, when I want, and how I want. The
freedom of Christ’s disciple is spiritual, moral, and interior;
it is the freedom for which every person longs
in the depths of his heart. And only Christ gives
this kind of freedom.
Conversation with Christ:
Thank you, Lord, for the freedom you have given
me! With it I could seek happiness in broken vessels
of clay, forgetting you, the fountain of living waters.
You could have made me not free.... But thus you
have created me, and I want to be free.
I want to know how to be free. I want
to demonstrate that I am free, with the most
sovereign act of my freedom: Lord, since I am
free, I give my freedom, my will, to you, so
that your will may be done.
I will exercise my freedom responsibly, as Christ would
have me do.