Law of Freedom

The perfect law of freedom. James 1:25

Our readings at Holy Mass this past Sunday focused our attention on the Law of God. Now we read from St. James’ letter about this law.

St. James had written, “The Father of lights willed to bring us to birth by the word of truth, that we may be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”

‘The word of truth.’ Sounds like this word could very well be a law. Do our readings give us nothing but moralizing about keeping the Law? Duty. Submission. Law, law, law–maybe makes us think, ‘I don’t want to. But I will.’ Grudging obedience to the Big Man.

resurrectionBut let’s reflect a moment. We come to birth—spiritual birth, birth ‘from above,’ as the Lord Jesus put it—we come to this birth not by our own obedience, but by hearing the news that Christ has triumphed over death.

The ‘word of truth,’ the fundamental law, is Christ’s gracious gift.

For us that means liberation—the freedom for which He has set us free by His death, that we might share in His undying life. He won eternal life for us while we still languished in sin. His loving mercy, His indomitable will—not that we submit to limits, but that we thrive without limit in the kingdom of heaven—all this comes before we do anything. This is the word of truth by which we come to spiritual birth: Christ is risen.

Of course, to hear this word and to believe means submitting. It means saying to the wounded Jesus, Who loved us to the cross, ‘My Lord and my God.’

And we want to do good in return. We want to return love for love. So the Law, the perfect law of freedom, is: To love as Christ has loved us and given Himself up for us.

One thought on “Law of Freedom

  1. Father Mark,

    The guards are all asleep; the Apostles slept as Jesus prayed.

    “Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
    and Christ will give you light.” [Eph 5:14 – with an interesting parallel to Is 60]

    Ah, that we might be awake at the hour of the Bridegoom’s coming [“… that great and terrible day.” – Joel 3: 4]

    In God we trust.



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