“Freeing ourselves from the ‘imprisonment of our appetites’ and experiencing the ‘glorious liberty’ of the children of God!”
(Based on 1 Kings 19:9, 11-16 and Mt 5:27-32 – Friday of the 10th Week of Ordinary Time)
The Canadian author, Thomas Costain in his historical novel “The Three Edwards” speaks of the life of a 14th century Duke named Raynald Ill.
Raynald was extremely overweight and was commonly called by his Latin nickname “Crassus” which meant ‘fat’!
This Duke Raynald, after a violent quarrel, suffered defeat in a revolt by his younger brother Edward.
Edward captured Raynald, but did not kill him.
Instead he imprisoned Raynald in a room in the castle…
… and promised that he could regain his title and property, if he was able to escape from the room.
This task – to escape from the room – would have been pretty simple for most people, since the room had several windows and a door; none of which was locked!
But Raynald had a problem…. His size… His uncontrolled appetite!
Edward knew his elder brother…
… and He very well knew this weakness as well!
Each day, therefore, Edward send him a variety of delicious foods!
Instead of dieting his way out of the room, he began to relish on the grand food served to him…
… and Raynald grew fatter!!
When Edward was questioned by the people on his cruelty for having captured his elder brother, he would reply, without any qualms:
“My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.”
The story goes on to say that Raynald stayed in that room for ten years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle.
But by then his health was so ruined, that he died within a year!
… as a prisoner of his own appetite!
How often is this a reality in our spiritual lives as well!
Sin sometimes captures our hearts so much…
.. that we are unwilling to let go, and thus wither in our sinful state
Immorality and transgressions take over our lives so much…
… that we become slaves, and remain much bound to them.
The Gospel of the Day is a powerful call by Jesus to make an honest examination of our state of life, and check whether we are imprisoned by sin…
… especially from the perspective of immorality and decadence in our ethical system.
Our modern society is often a rude and mute witness to many inhuman atrocities and abuses, especially against women.
The world seems to be more and more losing, the sense of sin!
In this context, it’s shocking to read the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading:
“Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery in his heart”! (Mt 5:28)
Jesus’ words pierces through the heart!
He gives no space for lame excuses and silly explanations…
… he hits straight at the target!
SIN consists not in some external actions alone…
…..but SIN is conceived and given birth in one’s heart!
When we consider the society in which we live in, we find that…
Immorality is on the rise….
We pass through cities and towns..
We look through newspapers and magazines…
We scan across websites, swanky apps and fancy shops…
.. and we find that… Immorality is, indeed, on the rise!
Immoral pictures, sensual visuals, inhuman portrayal of persons, double-meaning talks have somehow become the order of the day!
We are very often surrounded by filth and lewdness in our society.
Satan, the father of deception scatters the seeds of immorality and lust everywhere!
It’s here, that a Christian needs to be on the watch.
It is our duty as Christians, to preserve our hearts from this dangerous contagion.
The beatitudes tell us, “Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God” (Mt 5: 8)
We have a duty…
… to preserve ourselves from impurity!
… to protect others in their dignity and honour!
…to awaken the society which is often, deadened in immorality and perversion!
The Lord reveals Himself in the stillness and tranquillity of our hearts and lives…
… just as Elijah experiences the Voice of the Lord – not in the strong wind, or earthquake or the fire… but in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Let us examine our lives and check… “Am I becoming a prisoner of my own appetite?”
… being a slave to lustful thoughts or immoral patterns of attitudes
… being indifferent to a society which strips itself of all dignity in the name of liberty and freedom
The Lord very powerfully challenges us to be totally intolerant to casting away sin and sinful tendencies from our life…
” If your right eye causes you to sin… tear it out and throw it away” (Mt 5: 29)
” If your hand causes you to sin… cut it off and throw it away” (Mt 5: 30)
Sin has no place in a world of mercy and love!
Mercy places an obligation that all sin be rid off!
Love demands that all wrongdoing be cast away!
Let the words of St Antony of Padua be given heed to:
“Anyone, then, who desires to live chastely in Christ Jesus, must flee not only the mouse of lust, but even from its very scent.”
Let’s awake, Dear Christians…
… Purify our World and live in Sanctity and Holiness…
Let us free ourselves from the “imprisonment of our appetites” and experience the “glorious liberty” of the Children of God!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The soul which rises from out of sin to a devout life has been compared to the dawn…
… which does not banish darkness suddenly, but by degrees.