“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.” (John 8:31-32)
Three things follow from the initial “if,” which Jesus speaks in today’s Gospel. If you remain in my word, [then]:
- You will truly be my disciples
- You will know the truth
- The truth will make you free!
Jesus’ point here is simple and focused: remain connected to Him and his message. This connectedness helps us know the truth, distinguishing between those who live in freedom and those who live in slavery.
The truth that Jesus speaks about does not refer to a philosophical ideal, but a recognition of God as revealed in Jesus. Recognizing Jesus as the Son of God is knowing the truth because He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus makes this clear in John 8:36 when he substitutes the word “Son” for the word “truth,” saying that the Son makes people free, as “Son” and “truth” are Jesus himself, the very revelation of God (John 1:18; 5:19-27; 14:8-10). To recognize and know the truth, His followers should remain connected to Him and His Word.
Jesus does not announce a new dogma to which one must subscribe. He calls for an encounter with Him to dwell with Him and His Word. A personal encounter and connectedness lead us to the truth and thus to freedom.
When Jesus says He will set us free, we can assume He means we are enslaved.
The freedom He promises is freedom from the slavery of sin. The sins that break our relationships with God and one another interfering with our inner peace.
So, to experience the freedom that Jesus offers requires us to turn to Him, the truth, and connect with Him. It may require us to forgive our enemies, pray for those who wrong us, and abstain from judging our neighbors. It may require a sort of death to ourselves, our passions, and our selfish will.
Lent is the perfect time to let the truth free us from the slavery of sin: from the slavery of our bad habits, prejudice, impatience, and ignorance. So, let us accept Jesus’ invitation to let the truth make us free by connecting with Him and His Word and living as His true disciples.
- Father Jilson's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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