Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
(Daniel 3:14-20.91-92.95; John 8:31-42)
In a Jewish Seder Supper the question is asked if slaves exist today. The answer given is yes, “There are many kinds of slaves today.” Then the ritual gives four examples: slaves of 1) social injustice, 2) prejudice, 3) of poverty and inequality, and 4) of laziness, envy or jealousy. It seems this last kind of slavery that Jesus has in mind when he tells the Jews in today’s gospel, “’…everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.’”
Sin curtails away human freedom by moving evil-doers away from what they know to be good for all. It allows them some self-satisfaction in exchange for living in coherency with the truth. Because of its pleasurable appeal sin has the recurrent effect of keeping sinners attached to itself. The Jewish boys in today’s first reading know better than to get entangled in it. Even at the probable cost of their lives they refuse to sin and can die in integrity with their most deeply held beliefs.
We should find ourselves emerging from sinful tendencies at this point in Lent. By prayer and self-mortification we have prepared ourselves for radical identification with Christ. He has overcome sin and death which sin brings about. Undergoing the paschal experience with him we will live forever as free women and men.