The Truth Will Set You Free

We all want to be free, don’t we? Today’s Gospel is all about freedom. As a child, I wanted to be free of rules and regulations. As a young adult, I want to be free of college debt. I am sure in a few years I will have new things that I want to be freed from. None of us enjoys being enslaved. I’m reminded of one of my favorite musicals, Les Miserables.

For those who have not seen it, the play begins with the main character, Jean Valjean, being released from prison. He has his entire life ahead of him and has finally been freed. He has a choice to make, he can choose to try and make an honest life for himself or he can go back to his previous life of theft. A Bishop takes him in for the night, giving him a meal and a bed. But when the Bishop retires, Jean Valjean makes his choice. He chooses enslavement, steals the Bishop’s silver and runs. Of course he is caught, but when the police bring him to the Bishop to confirm the theft, the Bishop claims he gave the silver to Jean Valjean. These are the words of the Bishop to the man:


But remember this, my brother,

See in this some higher plan.

You must use this precious silver

To become an honest man.

By the witness of the martyrs,

By the passion and the blood,

God has raised you out of darkness:

I have saved your soul for God.


In today’s culture, we see freedom as doing whatever we want whenever we want with whomever we want. This kind of mentality was really pioneered by the sexual revolution in the 60’s and 70’s. But we have to ask ourselves what is true freedom? Is true freedom really doing whatever we want? I did what I wanted in my youth and I was not happy due to several years of addiction to pornography. It wasn’t until I realized that true freedom must begin with truth, that my life started to change and I started to experience real peace.

But what is truth? That question rang through the walls of a Roman palace over 2,000 years ago on Good Friday. What is truth? Thankfully Jesus answers this question in saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” So if Jesus is the truth and we were created by God, then John Paul II was correct in saying that, “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” It is living in the way that God has commanded us, not because God is an authority figure who loves control but because He made us and knows our hearts and knows how we will ultimately be happy.

We don’t think of freedom in this way anymore. Instead, we would rather exercise our “freedom” and become more enslaved to our precarious choices. Paul acknowledges this when he says in scripture, “I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” It is in trusting that God knows what is best for us and has created us in a certain way, that we can start to live by that truth in freedom.

Similarly, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables listens to the advice of the Bishop. He realizes his dignity as a son of God and realizes that because of this dignity, he is to live a certain way. He goes on to serve those less fortunate in his community and enjoys true freedom.

We all have a choice. Free will does not give us the right to work against our Creator, but it does give us the option. We can either follow the ways of the world and become enslaved to money, power, greed, or lust or we can start to live by the truth, and that truth will truly set us free.

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at or find him online at