Disoriented Will

Scripture Reading

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“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.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”
(John 8:31-42)

Scripture Study

8:31 Those Jews who believed in him: a rough editorial suture, since in Jn 8:37 they are described as trying to kill Jesus.

8:33 Have never been enslaved to anyone: since, historically, the Jews were enslaved almost continuously, this verse is probably Johannine irony, about slavery to sin.

8:35 A slave … a son: an allusion to Ishmael and Isaac (Gn 16; 21), or to the release of a slave after six years (Ex 21:2; Dt 15:12).

8:38 The Father: i.e., God. It is also possible, however, to understand the second part of the verse as a sarcastic reference to descent of the Jews from the devil (Jn 8:44), “You do what you have heard from [your] father.”

8:39 The works of Abraham: Abraham believed; cf. Rom 4:11–17; Jas 2:21–23.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today in our Gospel Jesus confronts Jewish leaders who want to kill him, telling them they are hardened in their sin. He speaks, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” In our tradition, sin is a kind of non-being, an illusion if you will. To live in sin is to live stubbornly in an unreal world. Our mind becomes confused, and our will disoriented. This helps explains why the devil is often referred to as the father of lies.

Theologian Henri de Lubac gives voice to this conviction when he refers to sin as cette claudication mysterieuse, this mysterious limp. It is a deformation, a corruption. All of us sinners have, to one degree or another, bought into the lie. At the heart of the lie—and we can see it in the Genesis account—is the deification of the ego. I become the center of the universe, I with my needs and my fears and my demands.

And when the puny “I” is the center of the cosmos, the tie that binds all things to one another is lost. The basic reality now becomes rivalry, competition, violence, and mistrust.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.