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Theme of Pope’s general audience: ‘Freedom is realized in love’

October 20, 2021

Continuing his Wednesday general audience series on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, Pope Francis emphasized on October 20 that Christian freedom is realized in love.

Previous addresses in the series were entitled “Introduction to the Letter to the Galatians“ (June 23), “Paul, the true apostle“ (June 30), “There is just one Gospel“ (August 4), “The Mosaic Law“ (August 11), “The propaedeutic value of the Law“ (August 18), “The dangers of the Law“ (August 25), “Foolish Galatians“ (September 1), “We are Children of God“ (September 8), “Life of Faith“ (September 29), “Christ Has Set Us Free“ (October 6), and “Christian freedom, universal leaven of liberation” (October 13).

“In our continuing catechesis on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, we now consider the freedom to which we have been called in Christ,” the Pope said, in the words of the official Vatican summary of his remarks. “The new life we received in baptism has made us sons and daughters of the Father and set us free from slavery to sin and death.”

The summary continued:

Paul teaches that our freedom in Christ is not an opportunity for self-indulgence but a summons to be “servants of one another” (Gal 5:13) within the community of believers. Paul tells us that only “through love” (ibid.), given in generous service to the poor, can our freedom in Christ grow and bear fruit.

Jesus exemplified this life of selfless love at the Last Supper, when, on the eve of his saving passion and death, he washed the disciples’ feet, teaching us to do likewise.

Christian freedom has an essentially social dimension. The effects of the current pandemic invite us to overcome reductive individualistic ideas of freedom and to rediscover its deeper communitarian aspect. Through our witness to the liberating power of Christ’s grace, may we help others to see that authentic freedom is born of the love of God and finds its fulfilment in charity.

 


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