The second reading on Sunday, the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, draws our attention to the tension between freedom and obedience; liberty and service.
In the UK there has been much talk of independence in recent months; and not a little snapping, even of ‘tearing each other to pieces’. There has been also – for many – a keen awareness of the importance for our social/political health of being co-responsible for each other, of relating well with our neighbours, individual neighbours and neighbouring nations. But there is still much to be done to find health together again.
When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself. If you go snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, you had better watch or you will destroy the whole community.
Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions. If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you.
- What do you receive from others?
- What are you able to contribute to them?
Detail of Poster for Chora, Venice. (c) 2008, Allen Morris.