In his agony, Jesus shows freedom comes in obedience to God, Pope says at Holy Thursday liturgy
April 05, 2012
As he celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI said that the belief we can be free only by doing our own will, and ignoring the will of God, is “the fundamental life which perverts life.”
The Pope spoke about true human freedom at the conclusion of his homily, as he presided at the first ceremony of the Easter Triduum in the basilica of St. John Lateran. Having celebrated the Chrism Mass with the priests of Rome earlier in the day (see the separate CWN headline story), the Holy Father now recalled the Last Supper.
At the conclusion of the meal, the Pope observed in his homily, Jesus went out into the night with his apostles. The night, the Pope said, signifies darkness, “an obscuring of the truth,” and the approach of death. Every human fears that darkness, but for Jesus, in the agony of prayer, there was an additional burden. “His is the dread of one who is completely pure and holy as he sees the entire flood of this world’s evil bursting upon him,” the Pope said. “He also sees me, and he prays for me.”
In his anguish Jesus “threw himself on the ground,” the Gospels relate. Pope Benedict observed that the Lord was “assuming a posture of complete submission” as He accepted the will of his Father. “In this way he transformed the stance of Adam, the primordial human sin, and thus heals humanity,” the Pope said. During that period of prayer before his arrest, Jesus “resolved the false opposition between obedience and freedom.”
Explaining that “false obedience,” the Pope said:
When human beings set themselves against God, they set themselves against the truth of their own being and consequently do not become free, but alienated from themselves. We are free only if we stand in the truth of our being, if we are united to God. Then we become truly “like God”—not by resisting God, eliminating him, or denying him.
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