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, 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, not to be transported in a flying machine.
The story illustrates the lesson that Jesus gives in the gospel today. The Jews think they are free because they are not slaves of anyone. But this is very limited freedom. Jesus would provide them full freedom where they could act as righteously as they deeply desire. It is the freedom of Yo-yo Ma on the cello or Venus Williams on the tennis court.
As Jesus says, freedom comes from accepting him as God’s Son. He brings the rule of life that disengages us from attachments to fortune, fame, and force and sets our sights on eternal life. He accomplishes this by sending us the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Holy Spirit is what the coming Easter season is all about.