1 Peter 1:18-25
Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20
I love St. Peter's casual example of perishable things here: silver and gold. We were not ransomed by silly, useless, passing away garbage like silver and gold. These shiny metals that people have killed for, that armies have conquered for, are like nothing in comparison to what we have found. A huge ransom in the ancient world would be a talent of gold, a pile of gold as big as your fist, but St. Peter assures us that we were not ransomed with something as worthless as that. We were ransomed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
And so we were. When people ask me if I have been saved, I answer, “Yes I have”, and when they ask me where and when, I say that it was on a hill just outside Jerusalem about 2000 years ago. I was ransomed by Jesus Christ, who spilled his blood willingly so that I could be free of the chains around my heart.
And so we are free, but free for what? Free to sin? Free to rewrap those chains that lie broken? St. Peter suggests that, given this enormous ransom that has been paid to free us, we are now free to love one another.
We were born into this slavery, so when we were ransomed, we did not even know how to be free. Jesus is the example for us of a truly free man. He is walking toward Jerusalem when he announces that upon his arrival there, he will be mocked, spit on, tortured, and killed. Then he keeps walking to Jerusalem. He is free. He does what he wants, and what he wanted was to give his life as a ransom for many.
We are not free so long as there are conditions that restrict our ability to live, to love, to serve. If our time is limited because we have shows to watch every night, we are not free. If our generosity is limited because we are afraid of not having enough tomorrow, we are not free. If our time is wasted in obsessive addiction and entertainments, we are not free.
Jesus Christ willingly went to death so that we could be free. The potential exists for us to love freely and give ourselves in return. Yes there is prudence. Yes there are different vocations. But if I am not free right now to give everything to God if he asked, I hold cheap the priceless price that Jesus paid for my freedom.