Inner freedom. Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Joseph Evans comments on the readings for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) and Luis Herrera offers a short video homily.

Joseph Evans-February 1, 2024-Reading time: 2 minutes

In today's Gospel we see Jesus perform all kinds of miracles: healing Simon's mother-in-law of fever, casting out demons and curing diseases. But this is only a sign that the Holy Spirit is upon Him. Jesus does these actions because He is filled with the Spirit and the deliverance is a sign of the Spirit's action: "He is the Spirit of God.The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Cor 3:17). The Spirit is like the wind, which cannot be constrained. This is how our Lord described the activity of the Spirit to Nicodemus when he went to visit him (cf. Jn 3:1-8). 

There may be times in life when we feel very constrained, lacking in freedom, like Job in the first reading: "...".Is not man's life on earth a militia, and his days like those of a day laborer; like a slave, he sighs for shade; like a day laborer, he awaits his wages. My inheritance has been wasted months, I have been allotted nights of toil. When I go to bed I think: When will I get up? The night lasts forever and I am tired of tossing and turning until dawn. 

This feeling may be objective or exaggerated. In any case, we must remember that freedom is first and foremost interior. What really takes away freedom are interior limitations: addictions, weaknesses of character. Someone - Christian martyrs, for example - can be locked up in a prison and be interiorly totally free. 

We need the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to find freedom. Lent will soon begin and it is a good opportunity to ask ourselves what we need to change in order to grow in freedom: what needs to be cut in us (a vice to eliminate) or improved (a virtue to grow in)? What defect, bad habit or addiction is taking away my freedom? It could be laziness, attachment to the phone or internet, food or drink, spending, or anything else. Lent is a time of grace to fight more against these addictions and find greater freedom in God. The sacrament of Confession is the sacrament of freedom, as it frees us from our sins.

If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will be filled with freedom. Indeed, as St. Paul explains in the second reading, this freedom leads us to willingly make ourselves slaves of others: "...".Because, being free as I am, I have made myself the slave of all in order to win over as many as possible". As Jesus did. Freedom finds its fullest expression in loving surrender.

Homily on the readings of Sunday V in Ordinary Time (B)

The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.

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