Bottom line: The Holy Spirit frees us from the slavery of sin. He enables you and me - and all creation - to share the glorious freedom of the children of God.
This Sunday St. Paul talks about the "glorious freedom of the children of God". What is St. Paul talking about? What is freedom?
First, let's clear up a misunderstanding. Freedom does not mean doing whatever I want, whenever I want. No. When a person loses impulse control, it leads to slavery. We see that enslavement when a person become addicted to alcohol, drugs and pornography.
Other addictions can take over. People have told me that during this pandemic they have become addicted to the news. Rather than focusing on things right in front of them, they become obsessed with what Trump or Biden or somebody else is doing. These kind of obsessions can lead to the biggest addiction - the sin of pride, that arrogance where a person wants to constantly put others down.
To liberate oneself from sin and addiction we need the Holy Spirit. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, we have become powerless and we need a Higher Power. We need the Holy Spirit to experience the glorious freedom of the children of God.
The Holy Spirit frees us, first of all, by forgiveness of sins. It's hard for us today to recognize our sins and to ask forgiveness. Cardinal Francis George observed that our society permits everything and forgives nothing. We see people being cancelled for something they did 10, 20 or even 50 years ago. The guilty person apologizes, begs forgiveness, but it doesn't matter. They still get cancelled. Fortunately, God's forgiveness exceeds our own - like the difference between an air force jet and a paper airplane. We forgive some things, some times, but God forgives all things, all the time. Because of God's forgiveness you and I can experience the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Freedom, in the deepest sense, means to fulfill ones purpose. Our founders had that in mind when they spoke about life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. In the classical sense, happiness means realizing your unique purpose. That is task of youth: to ask God, why am I here? What do you want me to do with this life you have given me? Following that plan brings deep happiness. In spite of tribulations we can know the glorious freedom of the children of God.
I ask you to seek freedom not just for own sake, but for the sake of all creation. As St. Paul says, "For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God". Then he explains, "for creation was made subject to futility". In school we learned about "entropy" - the gradual decline into disorder. On its own the cosmos has no future but Paul says, "creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God." The environmental movement springs from a good instinct - that our behavior affects the rest of creation. Pope Francis speaks about our Christian duty to care for the earth, our common home. This planet and ultimately the entire cosmos is destined to share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Before concluding, I want to briefly connect this to the Eucharist. At our weekend Masses we say the creed, the profession of faith. It contains the sweep of God's plan - from creation to the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. The Mass places us in God's plan where we find our purpose, deep happiness, true freedom.
To sum up: The Holy Spirit frees us from the slavery of sin. He enables you and me - and all creation - to share the glorious freedom of the children of God. Amen.
From Archives (for Fifteenth Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru