At the center of Jesus' obedience is his filial relationship with the Father, and at the heart of his obedience is love for his Father and for his brothers and sisters, for humanity. The fourth Gospel underscores Jesus' obedience by presenting him as a person who is totally dispossessed of himself and who, in all that he says, does and is, continues to point to the Father who sent him. This loving obedience gives meaning to his living and dying, and makes even his death on the cross an act of freedom. This is where Christian obedience finds its place, its 'measure' and its form: the form obedience takes in our lives is given by the Holy Spirit, who insists that we express our obedience creatively and responsibly, not legalistically. Yes, the criterion in Christian obedience is the Holy Spirit, who interiorizes the demands of the Gospel in each of us and leads us to see them as expressions of God’s will, so that we can then apply them to our lives to the point that they become expressions of our own will. In the light of this fundamental obedience, we can understand, accept and carry out other acts of obedience, in response to requests in which we perceive a mediation of God's will. As we do so, we should always remember that everything should be be governed by the Gospel and submitted to the decisive criterion of the Gospel. When forms of mediation of God's will (ecclesiastical authorities, theological doctrines, monastic rules, cultural rites, etc.) take the place of God and claim that obedience is due to them, they should be subjected to criticism and led back to obedience to the Gospel, because "we must obey God rather than men."

From: ENZO BIANCHI, Words of Spirituality,
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London 2002