So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed …
Whenever it is the First of April, there are lots of pranks and jokes everywhere. Today, we can still see jokes around on the internet. Many people are making jokes about how they are near to insanity because of the compulsory home quarantine. Here in Manila, we are obliged to follow the 24/7 home quarantine and only one person is allowed to go out to buy essential things at a specific time. We are under home quarantine until the 14th of April. Many people overreact, thinking their current situation is a deprivation of their freedom. Maybe they are right. They are slaves of their own desire to go out, meet people, and spend their money anyway they want.
Our Gospel for today depicts a deeper meaning of slavery. If you are told by Christ, “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free”, what would be your response? We may be like the Jews who answered, “We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free?” We are probably not slaves physically. But the reality is, it is not about our status in life. Rather, it is the state of our soul. If we really want to experience freedom, we have to stay away from sins. It is one of the challenges in life. We have to stop tolerating the cliché, “We are all sinners, and there is nothing we can do about it.” We can do something about it. If we go through our Penitential Rite, there is this part: “that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.” We sin by our actions. We sin by the words that come out of our mouths. We sin by just thinking ill thoughts. We sin by just doing nothing.
Recall your activities these past couple of days. Have you done anything to hurt others? Have you thought of hurting others? Or, could you have done something to help others?
In this time of pandemic, our actions are very limited. We must use this opportunity for us to not commit sin. By simply obeying the rules of our community, we can commit less sin. Our government is not perfect and there is not much we can do. Instead of giving off negative vibes online, let us join various dioceses in celebrating mass online and other community prayers. This is also the time when people do panic buying. When we buy things, let us reflect if we are buying for the quarantine period or for the whole year. Remember, there are other people who also need to buy things. If you are in a community where there is a relief-giving program, re-evaluate yourself and think if you belong to those who are in dire need. There might be others who might need it more. With the simple act of kindness that we do, we walk away from sin.
(Today’s Oxygen by Beryl Baterina)
Prayer: Father God, we are deeply sorry for all our sins. May we continuously have faith that through our Lord, Jesus Christ, we will surpass our current situation. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly God, thank You for our leaders, medical workers, security personnel, and other people who are brave to be front-liners in handling COVID-19. Amen.