By a happy accident, this coming Sunday’s Epistle from Galatians makes a good meditation for the week of our 4th of July holiday. “For freedom Christ set us free,” St. Paul says, “but do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather serve one another through love … but if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.” It sounds like St. Paul lived in the same kind of world we do, an often “dog eat dog” world. “Flesh,” it is clear from what St. Paul says, does not just mean “sins of the flesh,” although they are included. It also means the intense competitiveness our culture not only permits but encourages — competitiveness to possess power, things, people, to be the alpha person in the group, to have more “followers” on Instagram, to be influencers, to be “someone.” This is what our freedom entitles us to, and no one has the right to get in our way, our culture tells us. Anyone who is a committed Christian knows better! But trying to live by our Christian values also puts us out of step with our culture. That can be an uncomfortable, “non-fit” experience in the workplace, at parties, when trying to help children and youth resist the allure of all this. There is an inner joy, like a relaxing sigh, when we do finally “get it” and experience the inner freedom of a life oriented to serving one another through love. Hopefully that is the kind of true freedom our founders, who knew well where inalienable rights came from, had in mind!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia