Galatians 5:1, 13-18

When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself. If you go snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, you had better watch or you will destroy the whole community.

Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions. If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you.
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Today’s second reading really strikes me, in many different ways. The first thing that St. Paul highlights to the people of Galatia is that Christ means us to be free, and that to indulge ourselves is really to make us slaves again.

One of my favourite speakers, Christopher West, addresses this matter in a talk of his called “Sexual Honesty”. He says that our culture tells that that we are free to choose to have sex whenever we want to, and our culture promotes this through the use of contraception. Our culture tells us, “With this handy little thing, you can have sex whenever you want to. You are free from the deterrents of sex, mainly pregnancy.”

However, contraception was never invented to prevent pregnancy. We’ve already got a 100% foolproof method of that - abstinence. Contraception was invented because people didn’t want to abstain. Refusal to abstain quickly becomes inability to abstain, which quickly becomes addiction. This is why we are now seeing the appearance of people who are addicted to sex, since the widespread acceptance of the use of contraceptives. A person who can’t say ‘No’ to his desire to have sex is not a free person. He is a slave to sex.

In the same way, an alcoholic is someone who can’t say ‘No’ to his next drink. A smoking addict is one who can’t say ‘No’ to a quick fix. A gambling addict is one who can’t say ‘No’ to his next bet. A porn addict is one who can’t say ‘No’ to watching his next porn video. A masturbation addict is one who can’t say ‘No’ to his desire for a quick fix. There are so many types of addictions out there, but they stem from one main lie - the culture that teaches us that we are free to indulge. The person who is ‘free’ to indulge quickly becomes a person who is not free to say ‘No’ to his desires.

But there is hope. There is hope in the redemptive power of Christ. Christ came to set us free, and we have already been set free. To remain free, St. Paul tells us, “Love one another.” But in a culture that makes light of the word ‘love’, it is easy to lose sight of what it means to ‘love one another’. For the sake of our generation, Pope John Paul II explains the word ‘love’ in a way that we can understand. Make yourself into a gift for others, he says in his teachings.

When we make ourselves into gifts for others, we are truly loving others, and when we do this, we are truly being guided by the Spirit. We cannot make ourselves into gifts for others, and at the same time, indulge ourselves. They are truly opposites.
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Prayer:
Dear Jesus, teach us and inspire us with your Spirit to love one another by giving ourselves to one another. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Those who make themselves into a gift for others.

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