Are you a slave, or are you free?
Living in the United States, that seems like a moot question, as slavery has been abolished for over a century. Just because people can no longer be owned by other people does not mean that slavery does not still exist. Each of us is called to examine our choices and determine if we are slaves to sin.
Father God sent His Son Jesus to take upon Himself all the sins of the world: past, present and future, and to expiate them in his Passion, Death and Resurrection. While those actions allow us to call God our Father, it does not give us a free pass to do whatever we want. Jesus died so that we could make a choice every day, several times a day, to either do God’s will or our own. While it may sound like slavery to choose to do God’s will over our own, God does not force His will upon us. Using the analogy of an adult and a 4-year-old child in a car, would an adult listen to the child giving him directions on where to go? If the child is in the back seat and can barely see out the windows, not many would trust a child to guide them. However, we are that child in our lives. We can barely see out the window of our life decisions, let alone down the street. But God sees and can guide us to be the best person we can be.
In giving us freedom of choice, we also have to accept the consequences of those choices, rather than blaming God for punishing us. If we choose to do our own will, if we choose to be a slave to sin, God will not stop us. He will be alongside us, gently calling us back to Him. He will use situations and chance meetings to call our attention to His will. God’s love does not go away because we have abandoned Him, “…for his sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and the unjust.” (Mt 5:45) In the sacrament of reconciliation, we admit our selfish actions and become again a child of God through grace. In choosing to confess our sins to God, we seek to restore our relationship with Him and take ownership of the choices we have made.
Freedom is truly a gift from God. Let us remember to thank Him for all the liberties with which He has blessed us and strive to live in freedom from sin.