To read the texts click on the texts: Jer 31:31-34; 1Tim 2:1-6; Jn 8:33-36
The verses which form the text for the Republic Day of India contain what may be seen as the fundamental lines of debate and disagreement between Jesus and the religious leaders. In these verses the succeeding verse builds up on the preceding one and thus intensifies the debate. The sayings are addressed to the people who “believed in him”. Though these act, their faith seems inadequate as is seen in their response to Jesus to come to the truth. The truth that Jesus refers to here is not an abstract principle but the presence of God in Jesus. The recognition of this truth results in a person’s being set free. The words “will make you free’ result in upsetting the listeners who protest that since they are Abraham’s descendants they are naturally free. However, they do not realize that in rejecting Jesus they are also rejecting Abraham and so are not really his descendants and consequently not free.
Since freedom is a gift, it cannot be earned or acquired through one’s antecedents. It is made visible in the actions that one performs. If one performs sinful actions, then one is a slave and so not free. Though the leaders claim to be descendants of Abraham, their actions do not correspond to their claim. They are guilty of the sinful action of trying to kill Jesus. Freedom is possible only through the Son who alone can make free because he is the Truth. In order to receive this freedom one must be able to recognize the truth of who Jesus is. This they cannot do.
Republic Day is celebrated as the day on which the Constitution of India came into force. The Constitution promises all the citizens of India liberty, equality and justice. Yet.... we have a long way to go. It is easy to point fingers at our political leaders and others and lay the blame for the situation in our country at their door. However, we are as responsible as they are and so must accept responsibility for the way things are. If each one of us does what we have to do to the best of our ability, change for the better is a given.
My prayer is that unlike those 2000 years who did not heed the voice of God spoken in Jesus, each one of us might heed that voice which still calls all of us to unconditional love.