26 Jan 2017: Freedom and Religion

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Today our nation celebrates the Republic Day. It’s an occasion to remember all our founding fathers who have toiled, suffered and have died to bring us freedom. Very often on such occasions we like to speak about freedom. For example: is our nation really free? Are we free? We speak of freedom at various levels; spiritual freedom, physical freedom, emotional freedom, religious freedom so on and so forth.

Let’s not deny that in the life of every individual, freedom and religion have a very prominent role. Because whenever the idea of God and religion are omitted in the life of an individual that person begins to be a thorn in the lives of his or her neighbour. Human rights and religion are inseparable. The founding fathers of our nation knew this by experience and study and realized the true greatness of freedom.

Today in the Gospel reading according to John, we hear about freedom and slavery. Jesus’ talk on freedom annoyed the Jews. Jews claimed that they had never been slaves to anyone. But it was another slavery of which Jesus was speaking. The important point in Jesus’ preaching was that everyone who commits sin is the slave to sin. Sometimes when we are rebuked for doing something wrong or warned against such a thing, our answer is: surely, I can do what I like with my own life. But the point is that those who sin are not doing what they like, they are doing what sin likes. It is possible to let a habit get such a grip of us that we cannot break it. Sometime we can get into such a state that in the end we hate and love our sins at one and the same time. The sinners have lost the power to do what they like.

When God created us to be free and equal, He did not stop there, but also gave us His ten commandments, on how to live our freedom. As followers of Christ and citizens of this land of liberty we have been twice blessed. Thanks to the foresight of our founding fathers and thanks to the sacrifices of our parents, we learned to know God and live with the anticipated joy of eternal life.

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