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Estonia: Lessons Learned from the Escape from Slavery

‘You Know What it is to Struggle for Freedom’

What can the people of today’s Estonia learn from the Jews who gained freedom from slavery in Egypt many centuries ago? Pope Francis suggests a great deal.

“In listening to the first reading, the account of the coming of the Jewish people – now freed from slavery in Egypt – to Mount Sinai (Ex 19:1), it is impossible not to think of you as a people,” the Holy Father reflected. “ It is impossible not to think about the entire nation of Estonia and all the Baltic States!

“How can we not think of your part in the Singing Revolution, or in the human chain of two million people extending from here to Vilnius?  You know what it is to struggle for freedom; you can identify with that people.  We would do well, then, to listen to what God says to Moses, in order to discern what he is saying to us as a people.”

The Pope stressed that we choose to be Christians. And making a commitment to God takes nothing away from us.

“When we say that we are Christians, when we embrace a way of life, we do so without pressure, without it being a kind of trade-off, in which we remain faithful if God keeps his promise,” Francis reminded the congregation. “First, we know that God’s promise does not take anything away from us; rather, it leads to the fulfillment of all our human aspirations.

The Pope noted the parallels, of a nation longing for freedom and finally attaining it.  But he also cautioned that the people should not lose sight of true freedom.

“Some people think they are free when they live without God or keep him at arm’s length.  They do not realize that, in doing so, they pass through this life as orphans, without a home to return to.

“You did not gain your freedom in order to end up as slaves of consumerism, individualism or the thirst for power or domination. God knows our needs, those we often hide behind our desire for possessions…He is the one who can give us fulfillment by the abundance of his living water, his purity, his irresistible power.  Faith means realizing that he is alive and that he loves us; he does not abandon us and, as a result, he is capable of intervening mysteriously in our history.  He brings good out of evil by his power and his infinite creativity.”

Full Text of Pope’s Homily

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