Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that if we are to be disciples, we are to make His Word our home. How do we do that? We find Jesus’ Word in the Gospels – and His Word makes the way clear. His Word gives us the commandment to love God and love our neighbor. His Word gives us the Beatitudes. His Word tells us to forgive. His Word tells us to care for the widow and orphan, to feed the poor and care for the sick. His Word gives us the example of sacrificing everything, even our life, for others.
He goes on to say this truth will set you free. The Jews who were following him were shocked that He would imply they were slaves. They didn’t understand that there is more than one kind of slavery. In our Western culture, we certainly seem to be enslaved by many, many things. We are enslaved by our "stuff", by our work, by TV shows, by sports, by fashion, by our electronic gadgets, by our egos, by alcohol, by sex and the list goes on. And here is the thing – we become enslaved since we can’t ever get enough. We keep wanting more and more. We keep trying to fill up and there is never enough to fill us up because these are not the things that our soul is seeking.
But if we live the message of the Gospel, if we live His Word, we will be set free. When we feed the poor, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and dying, visit the imprisoned – then we will be free. He promised it.
Try it. Before this Lent is over, replace some of your quest for more by giving away. Give of your resources and give of your time to reach out to someone in need. Volunteer a few hours in a soup kitchen, or a homeless shelter, visit someone in your parish who is homebound or sick, console someone who is grieving.
Warning though: once you try it, you’ll want to do more. But here’s the difference, now you will be filled up. You’ll be filled with God’s love and your soul will be satisfied. He promised it.
Mary Lou Butler is a long-time friend and partner in ministry to the Passionists in California.