This past Sunday, Holy Mother Church, through her prayers, invited us to draw closer to Jesus and participate more fully in His Victory of sin, death, and the spirit of this world. The Bride of Jesus, our Mother, the Church, did this by focusing our attention on who God is, all He has accomplished on our behalf and what He is offering us. Here is the beautiful prayer which, for the attentive ear and open heart, is an invitation to draw close to Jesus:

O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption, look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters, that those who believe in Christ may receive true freedom and an eternal inheritance.

We are redeemed: our Father is so passionately in love with you and so passionately invested in your life that He wants to give you His everything, His Son, Jesus. Jesus has paid the price of all your guilt and shame. He bore your sins upon the Cross and suffered all the consequences of your sin. You are loved. You have been redeemed! Live like it!

We have received adoption: our Father wants you to experience being in a stable relationship. In this life, the storms of this world may rage against us, but we can experience our Father’s faithfulness at all times. In the Cross of His Son, our Father has written the decree of our adoption. You are the beloved son, the beloved daughter of a Mighty and Provident Father! Live like it!

He offers us true freedom and an eternal inheritance: there’s a new way to live your life, there is a different way to live your life. When you wake up in the morning, you no longer have to put on the same old chains of sadness, despair, anger, confusion, or lust. Jesus offers you true freedom. He wants to break your chains and set you free from the spirit of this world and its influence over your life. When who you are and how you live your life flows from who God is, what He has accomplished for you, and what He offers you, you begin each day rooted firmly in His love for you, rejoicing in your redemption, and eager to tackle a new day as a beloved child of God!


The prophet Isaiah encourages us to embrace this new way of life that our Father offers us in His Son, Jesus. Isaiah only saw in a vision what the Lord God was about to do for us: that He Himself was going to come and save us; that He Himself was going to come to open the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf, and make the lame walk. Unlike Isaiah, we no longer see this in a vision, as something about to happen: it has happened! Jesus, our Mighty Savior, has come and set us free! He has opened the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf, and He makes the lame walk!

Jesus is faithful! He is worthy of all our trust. Although He doesn’t orchestrate our woes, He is always present to work for our good. Even when everything around you, the spirit of this world is inciting you to turn your back to God, to walk away, to no longer believe, you will never err when you turn to Jesus and place your full trust in Him!


St. James helps us understand that to embrace this new way of life it necessarily entails turning our backs to, and walking away from those areas of our life that do not correspond to the Good News of Jesus. There are always two sides of the coin. To experience the freedom that Jesus offers us, to experience being in that stable relationship of sons and daughters of our Father, the Lord invites us to reject the spirit of this world. We cannot live our lives according to the spirit of this world, for how the spirit of this world judges people and discards them does not correspond to the heart and vision of God. That is why St. James exhorts us to step down from our judge’s bench and to take off the haughty robes! If you are currently standing in judgment of someone, or a situation or yourself, the Lord is asking you to step down. Yes, you have weighed their actions and words and YOU have deemed they are not worthy of love and they are worthy of condemnation. St. James is telling you to step down from that bench, and to humble yourself before Jesus.

Not judging people, not standing in judgment against others is an amazing freedom! This doesn’t mean that we are passive before evil or that we let others walk all over us. It means that we turn to Jesus and ask Him to fight our battles. We turn to Jesus and ask Him to give us His heart and His vision of a particular person or situation. Jesus so desires to give you this amazing freedom, especially if you are standing in judgment of your own life. Step down from that bench, enter the embrace of Jesus and live your life as a son, as a daughter of an amazing God!

Fr. Michael