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The Truth Will Set You Free: Love Me

April 1, 2020 Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

John 8:31-42

“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 me.”


Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, I do not wish to be a slave of sin or to hurt you in any way. Please help me to love you and your Father with a love as perfect as your own.


Encountering Christ:

1. “Our Father Is Abraham”: Many define themselves by their family’s heritage or by accomplishments or possessions. Jesus taught us to look at ourselves in a new way, a way that enables us to see, with fresh eyes, the higher reality of who we are. Before time began, God dreamed of us, and loved us, and could not wait until the day of our birth! So we are not merely defined by worldly attributes; such self-defining is beneath us. We truly are children of the Father.


2. “You Are Trying to Kill Me”: The word “sin” literally means “off the mark.” In the case of those confronting Jesus, they were so far off the mark that they wished to kill Jesus. When we are in sin, there is a form of death in our soul, and in a way, Jesus is also “dead” to us. When we choose sin over virtue, we choose death over life.


3. “Love Me, for I Came from God”: This is the incredibly beautiful reason why Jesus was sent: so that we would love him! What a humble God we have. It would have been utter insanity for us to have imagined that the Creator of the universe would ache for our love. Yet, he does. He even tells us that when we do not love him, it is like death, for him and for us. We too ache to be loved, and hurt deeply when we are not. We are most fulfilled when we allow Our Lord to love us.


Conversing with Christ: Lord, there are times when I feel almost dead inside. Please do not let me remain in that desolation. You came that I might have life and have it abundantly! Open my eyes so that I clearly see how much you love me.


Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace I will close my eyes and imagine my heart as it currently is: filled with clutter. I will then beg you to empty my heart and fill it instead with light and beauty and your love. I will leave this moment of prayer with renewed fervor, and be a conduit of your love to every soul I meet today.

For Further Reflection: John Henry Cardinal Newman’s prayer: Dear Lord, help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you, O Lord! Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as you do; so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Lord, will be all from you; none of it will be mine. It will be you shining on others through me. Let me thus praise you in the way which you love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for you. Amen.

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