The Pope at the audience: True freedom flows from the Cross of Christ
In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis continues his reflection on Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians, exploring the concept of Christian freedom and how Christ, the truth, achieved it in his supreme act of love on the cross.
By Robin Gomes
Christian freedom is the gift of God based on the truth of Jesus, who revealed the depth of the love of God in his supreme sacrifice on the Cross. This freedom is the way to happiness, Pope Francis said during his October 6 general audience in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican.
Starting from the common concept of freedom, the Holy Father explained that we only appreciate freedom when we lose it. For many, freedom is an acquired right.
However, Christian freedom, as Saint Paul explains to the Galatians, is a gift. The Apostle to the Gentiles feels pain when he sees Christians who, after having known and accepted the truth of Christ and his liberating presence, fall into slavery to sin, legalism, etc., allowing themselves to be drawn in by proposals. misleading.
He thus exhorted the Galatian Christians to remain firm and to keep this freedom which they had received with baptism, because he is aware that there were “false brothers” who wanted to enslave them.
“A proclamation that would prevent freedom in Christ,” said the Pope, “would never be evangelical. “” You can never force in the name of Jesus; you cannot make anyone a slave in the name of Jesus who sets us free.
The truth that frees
The teaching of Saint Paul on freedom, continued the Pope, is in conformity with what Jesus says in the Gospel of John: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free ”. Hence the call to remain in Jesus, source of truth which sets us free.
Pope Francis further explained that Christian freedom rests on two fundamental pillars: first, freedom is the grace of Jesus; and second, it is Christ the truth, who reveals himself to us.
Freedom is a gift of love
According to Pope Francis, freedom is a gift from the Lord because it is the fruit of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Freed by Christ from the bonds of his past life, Saint Paul focuses all his proclamation on Jesus.
“In fact”, declared the Pope, “the truest liberation from the slavery of sin stems from the Cross of Christ”, the source of the radical liberation of the human person. The fact that the cross, where we are stripped of all freedom in death, can become the source of freedom is a paradox that never ceases to amaze us.
It is the mystery of the love between Jesus and the Father which leads him to the Cross. Jesus attains total freedom by indulging in death, knowing that only in this way could he obtain life for all.
Saint Paul had experienced this mystery of love first hand. By nailing “his flesh with its passions and desires” to the Cross, he received the greatest gift of his life: freedom. Hence his intimacy with Jesus, who encourages us.
Journey of truth and freedom
The second pillar of freedom is truth. The truth of faith, explained the Pope, is not an abstract theory, but the reality of the living Christ, which touches the daily and global meaning of personal life.
Freedom sets you free by transforming a person’s life and orienting it towards good. To be truly free, said the Pope, we need not only to know ourselves psychologically, but above all to open ourselves to the grace of Christ in our hearts.
The truth must constantly question and disturb us so that we can always go deeper into who we really are. This path of truth and freedom, the Pope concluded, is an arduous path that lasts a lifetime, but it is a path on which the Love that comes from the Cross guides and sustains us. It is Love that reveals the truth and grants us freedom and happiness.