Please listen to Father Broom's Homily on FREEDOM

On the 4th of July every year USA celebrates the day of Independence, the day of freedom from the yoke of oppression.  We rejoice in this breaking of shackles, the oppression of domination, and the unjust treatment suffered for many years.   Although there is joy and festive celebration every 4th of July, true freedom can only come from one PERSON: JESUS CHRIST!   It is Jesus who truly gives us liberty, true freedom, the freedom of the sons and daughters of God!

What then are ways in which we can experience this true interior liberty, a liberty that no exterior force can rob?  Here are some true pathways to freedom!

1.    BAPTISM!  This Sacrament frees the soul from the shackles of sin, the dominion of the devil, and introduces the person to a relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2.    FORGIVENESS!  Hatred, envy and jealousy, resentment and growing bitterness, cultivating plots to seek out revenge—all of these interior sentiments transforms the individual into a slave.  Jesus Himself said that sin indeed is slavery.  Therefore, when a wounded person can open his heart to forgiveness and mercy, he has freed a prisoner. Who?  He indeed was the prisoner of his own lack of forgiveness. Hatred enslaves; love   ennobles and sets the slave free.  Jesus came to set the captives free!
3.    CONFESSION!  Many people live in fear, doubt, insecurity, and depression!   What a sad existence!  Usually the reason is very simple: sin accumulating in their hearts and suffocating the joy that comes from God.  Sin is like carrying a heavy weight.  The movie THE MISSION portrays a brother killing his own brother. For penance, the priest has given him the duty to carry a weight attached to a cord wherever he goes and for an extended period of time.  As the penitent slowly ascends a mountain, and as the weight and incline drag him to the ground, the priest admits that the murderer has carried out his penance.  The cord is cut and the heavy weight cascades down the mountain; the sinner, accomplishing his penance and truly sorry for his sin is set free!   What an excellent cinematic depiction of what sin is but even more important what sorrow, confession, contrition, and penance can do!  It can set captives free and communicate TRUE FREEDOM!   This is the freedom of the Sons and Daughters of God!  Seeking true freedom of conscience, of guilt, why not try confession?   The price could not be better and the Healer is the best—Jesus, who came to save and heal the sinners and broken-hearted! He is waiting for you in the Confessional!
4.     BE A GOD-PLEASER AND NOT A PEOPLE PLEASER!   A subtle form of slavery is the following: trying to please everybody!   Our first objective in life should always be to discern what is the Will of God for me and to carry it out quickly, joyfully and enthusiastically!   If our desire is always to cater to the whims of others, try to follow the flow, to be modern and be with it, then we will always end up sad and confused!  Before deciding and acting, our question should be: is this course of action pleasing to God?  If in the positive, carry it out!   A model for us is the person of St. John the Baptist!   He was not a people-pleaser; he did not cater to popular opinion; nor did he strive to ingratiate himself with the King, at that time King Herod.  On the contrary, he denounced the relationship of King Herod which was sinful, incestuous and adulterous!  Herod threw John in prison.  As he celebrated his birthday party,  who was the truly free individual?  Not Herod! Herod was indeed a slave of sin: lust, gluttony, greed, pride.   John experienced the true freedom of the sons of God, despite the dungeon, chains and darkness! Decapitation followed, but John was the true victor!  Are you at times a slave to popular opinion, the mode, what others might think and say?  Call to conversion and freedom now!  Be not a “People-pleaser”; rather, be a “God-pleaser”!
5.    OUR LADY/ MARY MOST HOLY GIVES TRUE FREEDOM!   After conceiving Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary moved in haste to visit her cousin St. Elizabeth.  Moved by the Holy Spirit, intent upon charity through service, joyful in God who was within, Mary arrives and greets St. Elizabeth!   Upon this greeting, true LIBERTY was communicated and experienced!   Upon hearing Mary’s greeting the baby John leapt in her womb!   The words of  Mary and the silent presence of Jesus--- the Hidden Redeemer already acting--- resulted in John being liberated from the stain of Original Sin.   The bond was broken and the stain of sin cleansed through the word of Mary and the Presence of Jesus!   Experience has proven that Marian Sanctuaries are indeed, “Spiritual clinics”. Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, are all classical examples of pilgrims who are sinners have recourse to sacramental confession--- sometimes after many years- and consequently are set free from the bonds of sin and the clutches of Satan!   Indeed  Mary has been called to crush the ugly head of the enemy and to cast out sin by her presence.   “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

After a radical conversion, upon his legs being shattered in the Battle of  Pamplona, St. Ignatius of Loyola was inspired by the Holy Spirit to compose the classic, that has changed the world  THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES.  At the end of the Exercises, in the famous CONTEMPLATION TO ATTAIN LOVE,  the contemplation challenges the retreatant to “Magnanimity”--- great generosity of soul--- to offer himself totally to God, but especially his “Liberty”.   We conclude with this inspiring but challenging prayer and challenge you to pray it and to live it; the result will be true “Liberty” of spirit!
 “Take, Lord, and receive all my  liberty   my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me.  To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.  Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.” (Spiritual Exercises  of St. Ignatius of Loyola # 234)