Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit and Freedom, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Gal 5:1.13-18
Brexit. Thursday, as we all know, was a day of great significance for our country.
Half of us think it was a great result, half don’t.
It’s not my role, as your parish priest, to tell you my national preferences.
I think, however, that today is a good moment to think more deeply about freedom and independence:
For many, Thursday was ‘Independence Day’, and it turns out that even for those who didn’t want this ‘independence’, we’ve all now got it.

Britain is now to be free from Brussels.
Now, we can decide for ourselves how curved our bananas are going to be.
Now, we are free.
But what are we really going to use our freedom FOR, what will its purpose or goal be? Because, obviously, it needs to be about more than bananas.

In our second reading we heard St Paul speak about freedom when he wrote to the Galatians.
Freedom can seem simple:
we just want to be free from what is holding us back.
However, as St Paul notes, we can end one slavery only to become the slave of something else, thus he warned them “do not submit again to the yoke of slavery”(Gal 5:1)
In particular, he warned against self-indulgence.
If you live for yourself, for your pleasures, for your comfort, for your money -all these things just enslave you again. I become a slave of my selfish passions.

God. Many people don’t like the thought of God telling them what to do -they want to be free.
Pope John Paul II, who laboured long under first Nazi and then communist dictatorships, spoke a lot about freedom. He noted that true freedom has a goal, a purpose, an end.
True liberty is “freedom for” not just “freedom from”.

Here then is the fundamental question: What is freedom for?
Freedom is for LOVE.
Why did God made us? To love.
We were made to love. A rock cannot love, a plant cannot love. God made human beings as RATIONAL beings, as the only part of his material creation that is able to CHOOSE. A rock or a plant cannot love because love involves a rational choice, the choice to seek the good of the other person not just of myself.

Love is what Freedom is FOR.
Love is what FULFILLS freedom.
NOT using freedom to then be ‘yoked’ again in the slavery of selfishness.

You and I have daily, continuous, demands put upon us. Other people wanting our time, our effort, and more.
All these things can be seen as the enemy of our freedom.
Or, I can recognise that GIVING myself in love to others is the whole PURPOSE of freedom.

To conclude.
We as a nation are now free;.
We as a nation are going to have to decide how to use that freedom.
Regardless of what you think about that result, take this as a moment to think about freedom, and freedom in your own life.
Why do you want to be free?
To be enslaved to yourself? Or to find fulfilment in Christ, fulfilment in loving?

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