The theme for this year’s Fornight for Freedom  is “Freedom to Bear Witness” and what a perfect theme it is! This is now the 4th day of the Fortnight for Freedom called for by the United States Bishops and already we are celebrating a third powerful witness to Christ, St. John the Baptist (the first two were St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher). All of these men were put to death for opposing the actions of the rulers of the kingdoms in which they lived. All of them chose to die rather than betray the Truth. And while it is true that each of is called to be willing to die for our Faith and to stand so staunchly in witness to the Gospel, we cannot forget the reason for the strength of each of these men in the face of death. That reason is their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
While it is true that each of us is entitled at the moment of our conception to the freedom to bear witness, the question quickly arises, “To what are we bearing witness?” In other words, what has impacted our lives in such a way that we cannot help but “preach” it with every fiber of our being: in the way we act, the way we dress, the way we speak and interact with our neighbors, the way we vote, the way we work, the way we worship, etc? Why are we making such a big fuss about having the freedom to witness? If we don’t have an answer to that question, perhaps its time to find one now.
St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher and St. John the Baptist (and all the other saints in heaven) could answer that question in one word: Truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth. He is the Way, he is the Life and he is the source and summit of all that we do. It is time that each one of us takes seriously our call to be in relationship with Him and to the point that we can say like St. Paul, “It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me.” It is only from this foundation that we can truly express our freedom to bear witness.
In the meantime, as we develop that personal relationship with Jesus, we like all the saints before us, need to fight for our freedoms through prayer , repentance and sacrifice. What that will look like in your own life is up to you to determine, but let us all make a commitment to not let pass this opportunity to join as a nation in prayer.