The Truth Will Set You Free

“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

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus tells the Jews who believe in him a simple formula for success. It is so simple, however, that it can almost seem impossible to completely understand. How is a good steward to interpret this statement?

Literally

The word “if” could almost be taken as a threat, for “if” one does not remain in his word one will not be set free.

The word “remain” could mean that one could be set free unless they do not “remain” in his word.

The word “word” could mean the scriptures as we sometimes refer to scripture or the bible, yet, the “word” might refer to Jesus himself, as we understand Jesus as the “word” of God.

“Truly” could mean that one might possibly could be a disciple but not “truly.”

And so on. Imaginably, we could be overthinking it!

In Context

Ironically, the Jews listened but didn’t hear. They listened to Jesus literally and missed the point entirely! Jesus wasn’t talking about literal slavery or earthen fathers. He was talking about doing the RIGHT THING! He was saying to follow him as the way, the truth and the life, and they would be free from the slavery of sin.

The Good News

We can also interpret today’s gospel within the context of the Good News. When we read The Appearance on the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35, we see Jesus as a companion on our faith Journey. The Latin meaning for companion is derived from two words: com meaning “with” and panis meaning “bread.”

With bread. As we recall in the Bread of Life Discourse, “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” John 6:35.

As we continue our faith journey this Lent, perhaps we should consider our companion for the journey. We are never alone as long as we are receiving, and walking with, the Bread of Life.

Lord, in my effort to become a better disciple, a mature steward, and your hands and feet, let me remain in you today trusting that to be with you is to become truly free from the slavery of sin.

Do You Need a Sign?

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 5th Sunday of Lent 2017

billboard God

When I am driving throughout the United States, I enjoy seeing the billboards that dot the highways speaking for God. A couple of my favorites: “Life is short. Eternity is not. God;” and “Let’s meet at my house this Sunday, before the game. God.” God must have a pretty big advertising budget because he has billboards in pretty much every state!

One billboard I saw read, “You asked God for a sign, and here it is!” After a chuckle, I realized that we are always looking for a sign. We say we believe, but sometimes, we act like we just want to be sure.

In the Gospels, Jesus performs miracles and healings so that people would believe. The healing of Lazarus was surely a profound moment for all who were there. Jesus was able to show that He has power over even death itself, a foreshadowing to his Resurrection that will occur in the not too distant future. For all who doubt, be assured that Jesus is the giver of life. He has given living water to the woman at the well, sight to the blind, and now has raised a man from the grave.

As Easter draws ever closer, how many more signs do you need? What else can Jesus do to convince you that His call on your life comes from the source of all life? As the US Bishops’ pastoral letter on stewardship lays this out, we have been challenged, we are asked to choose, and then our lives will be transformed. May all the signs of God around us, even billboards on the side of the road, move us to choose a path of giving of ourselves like Jesus.