A reading from the gospel according to John 8:31-42:
31 To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said: If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples;
32 you will come to know the truth and the truth will set you free.
33 They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be set free?” ‘
34 Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave.
35 Now a slave has no permanent standing in the household, but a son belongs to it forever.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.
37 I know that you are descended from Abraham; but you want to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
38 What I speak of is what I have seen at my Father’s side, and you too put into action the lessons you have learnt from your father.
39 They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them: If you are Abraham’s children, do as Abraham did.
40 As it is, you want to kill me, a man who has told you the truth as I have learnt it from God; that is not what Abraham did.
41 You are doing your father’s work. They replied, ‘We were not born illegitimate, the only father we have is God.’
42 Jesus answered: If God were your father, you would love me, since I have my origin in God and have come from him; I did not come of my own accord, but he sent me.
Reflection: The truth will set us free.
Being the descendants of Abraham, the Jews thought that they were privileged to be called the chosen people of God. Yet, their behavior did not measure up to the image of God as their loving and merciful Father. They even murdered the messengers of God who called upon them to repent and change their ways. Then Jesus, the Son of God, comes along. Instead of welcoming and loving Him, they rejected and crucified Him as a criminal. Thus, they continued to be enslaved by their sinful ways.
Rejecting Jesus means to continue living in the valley of darkness which consists of lies, deceit, hatred, arrogance, and guilt. There is no joy and peace in this valley. Only when we accept the truth of our sinfulness can we be set free from this darkness.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Only Jesus can set us free from sin and death. If we believe in Him, His mercy will be upon us and we will be forgiven. Not only that, He will give us the strength we need to turn away from our enslavement. We will then learn to love and forgive ourselves first and to accept, forgive and love others too.