When I think of freedom, many ideas and images enter by mind. I think of the brave men and women that sacrificed for all of us. I think about the flag and the patriotic songs. Finally, I think of the idea of free will to make my own decisions. However, these ideas are not the true freedom that St. Paul speaks of in the second reading this weekend.
The idea of true freedom that he discusses takes some prayer and thought to really grasp. If you had asked me what it meant just a few years ago, I’m sure I would have said something like, “it’s my ability to do whatever I want or make my own choices.” Although that answer isn’t completely wrong, we were created in the Father’s image, and he gave us free will and the right to choose. However, as I’ve learned over the years, the gift of free will does not equal true freedom.
The light bulb really went on for me when I was taking Moral Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. My professor simply asked, “do you think Christ died so you could have free will or so you could share in true freedom?” I went home that night and prayed to understand the difference between free will and true freedom.
Jesus Christ set us free for true freedom. That freedom is the freedom to serve the Lord and our neighbors, and also to follow Christ’s teachings. True freedom is different than exercising free will. It is not using free will to make your own rules or do whatever you want. As I continue to grow in my own spirituality, I focus on following the teachings and example of Christ. The more I focus on moral law and following the Word, the more freedom I have. The Truth, the Way and true freedom are only found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.