It is interesting that John tells us in the Gospel Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him. He was talking to those who follow him because they trust him. This is why he said If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciple; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Freedom is the result of knowing the truth which is continuing in the Word of Jesus. Unlike what many believe today, that truth is relative, Jesus is saying that truth is unchangeable. When we know the truth, we will be made free. As the discussion went further, Jesus tells those who believed him: you look for an opportunity to kill me because there is no place in you for my word. Jesus tells them you should do what you have heard from the Father. Jesus shows us how to continue in his word: to do what the Father says. Obedience, not only to the Law, but to the will of God. Our faith is not in pious actions, but it is in obedience to God.
The three young men in the First Reading shows us what this is like. The King wanted them to serve and worship the gods of the king. But they refused. Because of that the king ordered they be put into a furnace and burned. They held fast to their faith saying: If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up. The king was furious that he ordered the furnace to be set seven times more than customary and threw the three young men to the furnace. However, as they were in the furnace, an angel descended and prevented them from being burned.
This ordeal of the young men seems to indicate how it is when we are suffering. We may feel like we are trapped, there is no escape. There is destruction around us, our world is crumbling. Yet, in the midst of it, God is still with us. He does not take away the fire, nor does he take us away from the fire. He is in the midst of the fire, not allowing us to be harmed. And should God allow us to be harmed, our attitude is we will not serve or bow down to other idols.
While the pandemic has taken away the idols of our lives, our riches, our jobs, our forms of entertainment, we have replaced these with other idols. The government, the vaccine, the lockdown has become an idol. Many think they can be saved by the vaccine or the government or the lockdown. The truth it, only Jesus is the Savior. While we do need to take precautionary measure, God will protect us from harm and from sickness.
Jesus said, the truth will make you free. We need to look at the truth. Who is the Truth, but Jesus Christ. He is the only One who can set us free. And when he sets us free, we shall be free indeed.
Lord, in the midst of the chaos in my life, I come to you, trusting you will save me. Reveal the idols I trust so I may turn away from them and turn to you.