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It’s not a joke, you can be a slave to fashion, Pope Francis warns

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Says we should reflect on our degree of freedom in a world that shouts ‘Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!’ but is actually enslaved.

Today during his morning homily, Pope Francis took up one of the most exalted values in the world today: freedom. But he explained that having freedom and being free isn’t always what we think it is.

The pope used three examples from today’s readings to talk about freedom.

Gamaliel:

This doctor of the law encouraged the Sanhedrin to free Peter and John.

The pope characterized his freedom as springing from reasoning with “a clear mind” and thus encouraging patience.

The free man is not afraid of time: he lets God do the work. He allows God to take His time. The free man is patient. [Gamaliel] was a Jew, not a Christian, and he had not recognized Jesus as the Savior. But he was a free man. He thought things out and offered his ideas to others who accepted them. Freedom is not impatient.

The pope said Pilate also reasoned well with a clear mind, realizing that Jesus was innocent. But, not being free, Pilate could not overcome his desire for a promotion. “He lacked the courage of freedom because he was a slave to his career, ambition, and success,” the pope said.

Peter and John:

Pope Francis then spoke about the second example of freedom, Peter and John, who were released from the Sanhedrin after being whipped.

Their freedom, he said, is “greater, wider, and more Christian,” expressed in their ability to endure their sufferings for the sake of the Beloved.

This is the freedom of someone who loves Jesus Christ. They are sealed with the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. ‘You have done that for me, so I do this for you.’ Even in our own day, there are many imprisoned and tortured Christians, who possess the freedom to profess Jesus Christ.

Jesus:

The truest example of freedom is Jesus himself, the pope said.

When he had miraculously multiplied the loaves in the desert, Pope Francis said the people had come to make him a king. But he escaped to the mountain to avoid that fate. “He avoided triumphalism and was not fooled by it. He was free, since his freedom was to do the will of the Father.”

The pope concluded with a mini examination of conscience:

Today let us think about our freedom. We have three examples: Gamaliel, Peter and John, and Jesus. Do I possess Christian freedom? Am I free, or am I a slave to my passions, ambitions, riches, or passing fancies? It seems like a joke, but many people are slaves to fashion! … Let us reflect on our freedom in the midst of a ‘schizophrenic’ world. It shouts ‘Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!’ but is really a slave. Let us reflect on the freedom that God gives us in Jesus.

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