Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Lent
(Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; John 8:31-42)
In a movie about the revolution in Nicaragua some years ago, a peasant boy tells an American helicopter pilot that he wants to fly. The airman takes the boy for a ride in his helicopter, but the flight does not satisfy the boy’s desire. He explains that he wants to fly like a bird flies, not to be just transported in a flying machine.
Although the vignette is meant as a metaphor for Nicaragua’s yearning to be free of foreign dominance, it also illustrates the lesson that Jesus gives in the gospel today. The Jews think they are free because they are not enslaved by anyone. But this is limited freedom. Jesus would provide them full freedom where they could not only walk wherever they wish but act as righteously as they deeply desire. It is the freedom of Van Cliburn at the piano or Kim Yuna on ice skates.
As Jesus says, freedom comes from accepting him as God’s Son. He brings the rule of heart that disengages us from attachments to fortune, fame, and force and sets our sites on eternal life. Most importantly – for redirecting our lives is a monumental task – he imparts his Holy Spirit to us. The releasing of His Spirit is what we await during the coming Easter season.