There was a story of a college guy who was so confident about himself. Final exams was looming and he was so relaxed about it. His group mates urged him, “Come, let’s study. This subject is very difficult.”. He dismissed his group mates and just went his way.
Came examination day, he was confident as ever. He was the first to hand-in his papers. When his group mates finished their exams as well and they got together outside, everybody complained about the difficult exams – except the confident guy who, in fact, gave his group a blow-out.
During their next session with the said subject, exam results were revealed. The confident guy failed and the group mates who struggled with the exams all passed.
Many of us are like this college guy. Often we think we are alright, that we are still in the Grace of God, but actually we are not. We think we are FREE but we are not.
Personally I have encountered people who boast about their righteousness, about being upright, who are confident that they are pleasing before the eyes of God. They even condemn the wrong actuation and behavior of others.
In the bible, we encounter these same people in the Pharisees who thought of themselves as the clean ones and the others unclean. We also recall this story at Luke 18:10,
Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get’…
In the present day, we can fall to this trap of thinking – to think that we are alright when in fact we are not.
Modern society glorifies materialism and has distorted the concept of human success and fulfillment. For instance, Jesus teaching and that of his disciples advise against divorce, same-sex marriage and immodest clothing but these have become acceptable to modern society.
The Holy Spirit has planted in each one a conscience to distinguish sin but in many instances we turn a deaf ear to the voice of conscience, either deliberately or as a matter of habit.
In the long run, the human soul can become callous and no longer recognize the occasion of sin when presented with it. It is like exposing our fingers to a flame. At first, we may feel the pain and retract our hand from it. But as we get used to the flame, we may no longer feel the pain because our fingers have become callous.
Come to think of it…
If you are always angry and quick to anger, you are NOT FREE. You are a slave to anger.
If you are so engrossed about making money and has disagreement with family because of money, you are not FREE. You are a slave of money.
If you are full of envy and drives yourself to become like others because of envy, you are not FREE. You are a slave of envy.
The same thing goes for persistent desire for vengeance and many other worldly desires. Sometimes we are not aware that we are in the state of sin that cause us to fall apart from God. Then we end up unhappy because we are not free.
In the Scriptures, Jesus was talking to the Jews:
“… Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36)
We can be like the Jews in the story above. They thought they were free but actually they were not. They were slaves to sin.
The key to being free is to let God live in us so that we can know the real truth about ourselves and ask him to free us from the bondage of sin. Then we will gain real freedom. God wants us to be happy. We can be happy when we have truly become free.
God Father, Son and Holy Spirit… I invite you to enter my life. Please open the eyes of my soul to see the truth about myself, to see myself as you see me. Please reveal to me my hidden sins, the sins that I am not conscious of and sins that I ignore. I invite you to walk and live with me everyday of my life. Grant me the grace to follow you, the strength to fight temptations and resist from drawing near to occasions of sin. Keep me safe from the snares of the evil one. Help me out of every bondage of sin. Give me new life. Amen.
Source: Homilies of Fr. Chu and Fr. Lorenzo, Sto. Nino Church, Tacloban City