Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Lent
The Responsorial Psalm teaches us to look beyond the present moment and believe in what God can and will do. Then we will sing: "Glory and praise forever!" (Daniel 3: 52-56).
Daniel 3: 14-95 is an example of unconditional faith and loyalty to God. When threatened with death Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, "If our God whom we serve can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us. But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up." They believed without understanding and were committed unconditionally to accepting and doing God's will. Because they believed even when they could not see, they came to see. And what they saw made them sing, "Glory and praise forever!"
In Luke 8: 31-42 Jesus teaches that commitment also gives freedom. To bind ourselves to him releases us from enslavement to sin and error. To give him unconditional faith is the only way to see clearly: "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
We sometimes have the illusion that to be "free" is to keep our options open to change what we believe whenever we please. We think it is a restriction on our intellects to be bound to any "creed" or profession of faith; that it is intellectual freedom to shop around among current or classical gurus and schools of wisdom, not committing totally to any particular one, but building our own spirituality, our own Weltanschauung or philosophy of life, from whatever appeals to us in any one of them. We downgrade the teachings of Jesus to let them contribute to, but not ultimately determine, what we will believe.
The fallacy here is to assume that we are not already ensnared by our culture - or that we can free ourselves from the attitudes and assumptions programmed into us by society just by the fiat of a one-sided emancipation proclamation - as if to say were to be. The truth is, we all live in the "darkness" of programmed light: the light of this world into which we were born, and which colors our perception of everything we see. Only Jesus, the Light of the world who is not of this world but who came into the world (John 1: 1-14), can free us from it. But he can only free us if we commit to him in faith. His truth is divine. We accept it as divine or not at all.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Commit unconditionally to Christ as your Teacher.