Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

“While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and walking according to the manner of man?” (1 Cor 3:3). When Paul speaks of the “flesh” in this way, he is not referring to the goodness of the flesh that stands at the heart of our incarnate faith (“the Word was made flesh” Jn 1:14), but rather to that reality in fallen humanity that wishes to be its own lord rather than accept the lordship of God. Paul explains to the Romans, “while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death” (Rm 7:5). Someone who does not accept the lordship of God has only the illusion of freedom; the person who wishes to be his own lord often ends up being enslaved to his own passions, whether to food, power, entertainment, or anything else.

In today’s gospel, however, we see a man who is truly free: Jesus Christ. He is so free that he can loosen the bonds that tie others down, releasing them from what ails them. Jesus can do this because, as Lord, he does the will of Another, his Father in heaven: “for this purpose, I have been sent” (Lk 4:43). It is by doing the will of the Other who alone is Lord that we, too, are permitted to exercise dominion (lordship) in the world, as creatures made supremely free by God’s grace and sent to release others from their bonds (cf. Lk 10).

August 31st, 2016