Holy Cross Catholic Church

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13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - June 30, 2019

Jul 26, 2019

Dear friends,

Freedom is something everybody longs for and cherishes. However, in our present culture, while it is a high value to pursue for a happy life, it seems that freedom has carried with it different meanings. It went from attitude of self-respect and respect for others to “I can do whatever I want as long as I personally feel comfortable about it.” Or “I am free to do or to say whatever I want, and I do not care whether it hurts anybody or not. It is my choice.” This way of understanding has invaded the secular world as well as the church, the family of God’s children. But St. Paul is clear here when he reminds us that, “Everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is lawful, but not everything builds up” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

Today, we are all looking powerlessly the deterioration of our society. These kinds of understandings have emptied the word freedom of all its true meaning both socially and spiritually. Socially, there is a saying according to which “one’s own freedom stops where someone else’s freedom starts.” Or, to say the least, “one’s own freedom is not incompatible with the right of another to be respected.” Spiritually, we are moving from “freedom for God to freedom from God.” God is viewed as antagonistic to our freedom; God becomes an opponent to our freedom. And everybody would like to free themselves from God in order to be “truly free.”

In today’ gospel reading Jesus Christ is reminding us what true freedom is. True freedom is responding to His call without counting. True freedom is rediscovery of our true identity and the purpose for which God created us. Like for the Lord who resolutely takes up the journey to Jerusalem knowing what awaits, that is his Passion and death, we are called to embrace the freedom Jesus Christ offers us to participate in the building of the kingdom of God, which requires abnegation and self sacrifice. And St. Paul’s reminder from the second reading has its full meaning here: “For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love.”

Following Jesus Christ and working tirelessly for the coming of the kingdom of God is the expression of true freedom; for these are the ways through which we truly fulfill our true identity. Let us meditate today on our response to the call and figure out what still holds us back and makes us take excuse to freely follow Jesus. What do you think your excuse is that pushes you to seek freedom from God rather than freedom for God? What still holds you from willing to take a new step on your journey with Jesus? What is your “BUT” to Jesus as He calls you to follow Him to experience true freedom?

As we reflect on the call Jesus has placed on us to follow Him, let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family to respond to his call to Courageously Live the Gospel.

Happy Sunday to all!

Fr. Emery

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