Perseverance and freedom. That’s the theme of today’s reading. Our God is a mighty God who has come to save us from our bondage, and He has promised us that if we remain with Him He will set us free.

“Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart,” says the verse before the Gospel, “and yield a harvest through perseverance.”

In the Gospel, Jesus addresses the Jews who believe in him, telling them, “if you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

This was a little confusing to the men because these Jews were not slaves like their ancestors. They were already free, what freedom could Jesus possibly be promising? How could they be set free when they were already free?

As sinners, we are all slaves. We are born with original sin, which has put us in a kind of slavery. The freedom Jesus offers — to the Jews in the Gospel, to us today — is the freedom from this bondage. We will never be truly free until we have surrendered to God and His perfect plan for each one of us.

When we remain in God’s word, we do indeed find freedom.  We work hard to hear God’s voice, to become closer to Him through prayer and by growing in holiness. Living as we should, in other words, gives us the freedom that Jesus promised of old.

The harvest we are promised through our perseverance is this same freedom. We are faithful to put Jesus first in our life and the fruit of that — the harvest — is the peace and freedom that comes from God alone.

Rachel Balducci is a columnist and author and is the co-host of The Gist on Catholic TV. She and her husband Paul live in Augusta, GA with their five sons and one daughter. Find more of her writing at Testosterhome.net.

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