In the gospel reading for today (3/21/18, Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent), Jesus says, “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.”
People think freedom means being able to do whatever we want. We do have free will and we can choose to do whatever we want. However, do our choices really leave us free?
For instance, look at the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the first reading today from the Book of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar tells them to worship the golden statue he has set up or he will have them thrown into the fiery furnace. They will not worship the golden statue (it would break the commandment against idolatry and false gods). They know this might mean death but they also know that they are not making a choice for one day. If they bow down and worship this golden statue, it will be a sin not for just that one day but something that they will probably be forced to do for the rest of their lives.
Sin makes us slaves. Even when our sin is hidden, it can make slaves of us. To cover up the first sin, we begin to lie, thus adding to our sins, to cover up our first sin.
What about the seven deadly sins? How do they make us slaves? The sin of lust (Sixth Commandment – adultery) can make us slaves in covering up our behavior. Anger can consume us and keep us from loving others or feeling loved ourselves. Gluttony can lead us to wanting more which can lead us to greed and envy, or stealing (Seventh Commandment). One sin can lead to another and so we become a slave to our sins.
Some of the people who argue for absolute freedom also believe there is no absolute truth (we call this “relativism”). As Christians, we know there is a truth. It comes to us from God. We find it in the Bible. The Catechism of the Catholic Church helps us understand God’s truth as it applies to do. As individuals, we receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism with the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to guide us in God’s way. Our Church has been guided for 2,000 years by the Holy Spirit.
God does not give us commandments to suit his needs. God is all-knowing and the commandments are what is good for us. What God teaches us is “Truth.” Let us always listen to the Holy Spirit to know this Truth and pray that all come to do the same.