The Fourth of July is an apt time to reflect upon what freedom truly is because it marks not only the United States of America’s 240th year since the Declaration of Independence, but also the end of the USCCB’s Fortnight for Freedom.  Freedom is often is described by the world to be freedom to do what one wants, but, as the Church reminds us, this is not the case.  True freedom is found in only one place, that is, in Jesus Christ.

Traditionally, freedom has been understood as “the freedom to pursue the good.”  The Church confirms this when she states, “There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just” (CCC 1734).  And, of course, the ultimate good we are all called to pursue is God Himself and human freedom only “attains perfection when directed towards God” (CCC 1731).

With freedom comes a choice between good and evil, between choosing God or self.  All mankind is gifted with free-will, but this does not mean all are free.  In fact, many are truly slaves — slaves to their passions, desires, and to their sin.  As the Church teaches, “The choice to disobey [God] and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin’” (CCC 1733).

On this Fourth of July — as we celebrate the civil liberties we enjoy by shooting off fireworks, barbecuing with friends and family, and enjoying a day of leisure — let us not forget that true freedom is found only in Jesus Christ; “for Freedom Christ has set us free.” (Gal 5:1)  Let us remember that many, though without material chains, are bound by their sin and slaves to it.  In charity, let us answer the call to share the key of freedom, Jesus Christ, with those we meet this Independence Day.