Today’s reflection is offered in two formats: the podcast – 9 minutes while driving to work, or the usual written reflection below.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free….everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin… If the Son frees you, then you will be truly free.
In the living of the Christian life we need and want to hear from people who can encourage us in this life.
One of the encouragements or challenges that we are often given is from people who tell us that the Christian life is about letting go and they are right. But often their understanding of what it means to let go might be unhelpful.
Let’s take the example of the rich young man who comes to Jesus. We know that he is a good young man because he asks “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. He responds I’ve done this always! What more what more must I do?
Jesus looks at him and loves him and says “there’s only one thing you lack. Let go of all you possess and come follow me.”
This is not only about material possessions. There are many things that possess us. Our attitudes, fears, compulsions, addictions, projects…
“Let go” Jesus says to the possessive young man.
Once I heard an encouraging speaker give an example of what it is to let go. He said: Imagine the man that falls from the cliff on the way down he reaches out as he is falling towards the ground and grasps hold of a branch. Now he’s hanging there. It’s a long way up. It’s a long way down.
He looks up and calls out “God save me” And he hears a voice come from below. “Let go. I’m down here. I will catch you.”
Well I don’t like the story because if I were that man I wouldn’t be able to let go. I would hold on for dear life.
Perhaps it’s more helpful to think of this image: a newborn child perhaps a week or two old. I take the child in my arms and I hold the child. The child without thinking reaches out and grasps hold of one of my fingers and holds on. Perhaps they are thinking that if they hold on they will be more secure?
If they let go that’s fine too. The fact is that something much bigger is holding onto the child. I am embracing the child I will never let the child go.
In the Christian life when we think about letting go let’s not think of the man hanging from the branch. But let’s think of being embraced in the tender loving embrace of God. If we hold onto things , well that’s a game that we can play but much better if we relax and know that God is holding us in tender loving embrace always, and we have nothing to fear.
- Now take a moment to relax, a couple of deep breaths. Know in these moments that you are being held in the loving embrace of God. In this embrace you are aware of the ultimate truth, you are loved by God. You are being held in loving embrace by God, and this is the truth that in these moments is setting you free.
Thank you Fr John, it was a gift having the reflection read this morning while l followed the written script. I find l ‘listen’ better this way.
Good morning Fr John
I have read and listened to your message with gratitude, reassurance and hope in knowing that God always has us in His tender loving embrace and that, in my case, I can let go of my fears.
Thank you very much Fr John.
” See, I have inscribed you in the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:16. We are held in both hands of our loving Father.
I particularly like the analogy with the baby. That was a very beautiful.
Thank you Fr John for the podcast. It was so good to listen and reflect.
I found it particularly encouraging to hear that Lent is not about what we do but about Jesus Christ and what he does for us.