Taste and See: Freedom

Victims to the Totalitarian RegimeThe responsorial psalm set for Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Advent had us sing in celebration of the Lord’s gift of freedom.

The Song celebrated the freedom of Israel from Babylon. It is sung by the Church in celebration of freedom that is greater yet.

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs.

The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels
the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad.

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.

Psalm 125:1-6

Freedom from slavery; freedom from sin; freedom from oppression; freedom for hopelessness; freedom from being alone: freedom comes in many forms, and the Lord works that we receive the gift that restores us to ourselves.

Freedom can of course be abused. No-one, except through Christ, had such freedom as Adam and Eve and we recall how they abused it. We too may have received freedom and abused it too, not having learnt how to live it well.  We receive freedom ‘from’ as gift, but freedom is given us not just to do whatever but for the good and especially for the common good.

God’s freeing of us points to God’s covenant with humankind, his desire to draw us into communion with him. The gift of freedom is given us that we too, freely, might extend and deepen that covenantal relationship – with God, with our neighbour.

  • What freedom do you enjoy?
  • What freedom do you lack?
  • How does your life benefit others?
  • How do the lives of others benefit you?

Bring your thoughts to God in prayer.

Detail of Victims to the Totalitarian Regime by Ye. I. Chubarov, Gorki Park, Moscow. (c) 2015, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: of resurrection and the new creation

Holy Sepulchre4

The second reading at Mass tomorrow, the feast of Christ the King, comes from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. One of the most wide-ranging and interesting of the letters of the New Testament, that first letter to the Corinthians contains this following extraordinarily confident statement of the meaning and implication of Christ’s resurrection.

This is no one ‘thing’, a one-off event, happening to one man. This is life changing for all, the dawn of a new creation, in which the old creation finds the most extraordinary renewal.

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him.

After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28

And we are part of this event. First by the offer of this newness to all creation. Second by the decision to respond to the offer which is sealed in Baptism, and deepened in Confirmation, and constantly nourished in Eucharist. Third, by God’s grace and our striving, to do what we can to live this new life even in this old world: waiting, working – even in fits and starts – for its completion and fulfilment when the kingdom is achieved on earth as in heaven, and all is one and all is God’s.

  • What step to newness could you take today?
  • What step are you tempted you say is too far, too hard, too much?

Photograph of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.  Please pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the Westminster pilgrims presently on pilgrimage there.