Rejoice! You have been Freed!

O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel!

I want to focus on that word ransom.  Many theologians have spent a lot of time studying the word, Ransom, and its implications in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The common meaning of this word for us today is a sum of money or some sort of payment, demanded for the release of a prisoner.  Is this what Jesus has done for us?  Yes, Jesus has indeed ransomed us! This means two things, Jesus has bought us back, by his very death on the cross and resurrection, Jesus has purchased for us our salvation.  But Jesus has also freed us; he has freed us from the powers of evil, from sin and death, and from any kind of brokenheartedness we might endure in this life.

Friends,  this is why we rejoice today.  Our first reading reminds us of this hope we have been given in Christ.  Jesus is indeed the one who has been sent to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.  This is something we all are invited to reflect on this week… In what way is Christ offering me new freedom in my life?  Maybe it is the experience of poverty, either materially or spiritually and Christ is offering you hope.  Maybe its the experience of a broken heart and Christ is offering to heal our heart.  Or maybe its an addiction or attachment to some sin and Christ is offering us a new sense of freedom.  This is the time for us to bring those areas of our life to Christ and to seek the Freedom he longs to give us.

But here’s the thing… The experience of being freed means that we desire to bring others into freedom.  A great and heroic example of this is one who has been freed from an addiction.  Think about a person who has struggled with alcoholism, they often will volunteer much of their time in helping others attain freedom.  Brothers and sisters, when we experience the freedom of Christ in our lives Jesus is there to ask us this question:  I have broken your chains, and I have given you freedom, will you now help me in breaking the chains in the lives of others?  Will you help me free my people? 

As Saint Paul encourages us in our second reading, our answer to this question should be a resounding Yes! A Yes that is grounded in both Joy and Gratitude.  I invite all of us for the remaining week of Advent to pray over the spiritual/corporeal works of mercy.  Is Christ calling me to participate in his mission by performing one of these acts of mercy. 

Friends, we rejoice this weekend because Christ has purchased us and Freed us!  May the freedom of Christ bring us great joy and move us to bring the freedom of Christ into the lives of those around us.

O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel!

In Christ’s Friendship,

Fr. Stephen

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