Usually I try to come up with a clever title for my blogs. However, who is that really helping? Sure, I usually get a little chuckle out of them. With this blog, I really wanted to get right to the point, starting with the title.
First of all, if you answered ‘yes’ to the question posed in the title, you are not a bad person or a bad Christian. It’s almost a rhetorical question seeing as most of us have little things here and there that we may be slightly insecure about. However, my message today is a message of hope, not condemnation. I won’t make this complicated or theological (even if I could). You see, the Gospel message is one of freedom. Especially in this season of Easter, we celebrate the resurrection, Christ’s victory (an annihilation, really) over death, and freedom. The word freedom means different things to different people. If you’re like me, when you hear the word freedom, you picture Mel Gibson yelling it at the top of his lungs in the last scene of Braveheart. Maybe when you think freedom you think moving away from home, the American Revolution, or being free to move about the country flying Southwest. The point is, freedom holds a dear place in our hearts, whether we realize it or not.
2 Corinthians 3:17 – Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
In Galatians, St. Paul tells us “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” A few verses later he says, “For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love.”
It echoes John Paul II’s words : “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”
You see what just happened there? I just showed you some quotes on freedom from ST. PAUL and BLESSED POPE JOHN PAUL II. And now, little old me is going to try to follow them. I could talk for hours about freedom, or I could quote the entire Bible or the entire script of Braveheart. However, the point of this blog is you and Jesus. I want to dive deeper into my relationship with Jesus, and help you do the same, so that we can all experience freedom in a new way.
Insecurities cripple both teens and adults alike. People think they have to live up to some standard set for them by their peers, coaches, parents, or the media. Sometimes we buy in to the lie that our worth is in something other than Jesus. So I’ll say it now in the hopes that we all come to believe it more and more: Your worth is in Jesus Christ. That’s it. The God of the universe loves you. Pope John Paul II had a great sense of this and a great sense of the hurt young people were experiencing, which is why he said, “You are not the sum of your sins. You are the sum of God’s love for you.”
Read that above quote again. This is a message of freedom. This is a message of hope. Brothers and sisters, we are free. Any feelings of shame or unworthiness or insecurity that you feel, Jesus took it to the cross. He felt it for you. Those feelings died with Jesus, and when He rose, they were gone. To live weighed down by insecurities is contrary to the Gospel. We need to strive to embrace the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. The freedom to pursue holiness, the freedom to love, and sometimes the most difficult, the freedom to be loved. You are worthy. Brothers and sisters, don’t give into lustful temptations or relationships. You are worth waiting for. You are worth it. Brothers and sisters, don’t give into temptations to cheat just to prove yourself on the playing field, in the classroom, on the stage, or in your own home. You were worth dying for, remember? Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t be disheartened, don’t sell yourself short. Our cry of freedom comes from the deepest place in our hearts. In Christ, we have freedom. Let us journey together and walk hand in hand with our Lord. Let us experience the freedom Christ won for us. Having trouble with insecurities? Your parish priest, your friends, your youth minister or CORE team members, and myself are all here for you. We are praying for you and we love you.