For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:5-6)
Today’s reading from the Letter to the Galatians is important in many ways. It highlights teachings central to Paul’s proclamation of the Good News: grace and the cross of Christ. As with other passages in the letter, Paul’s frustration with the Galatians is unmistakable. He chides them – and sometimes not so gently – for being willing to abandon the purity and the power of the Gospel, he preached to make secondary things essential in their lives.
The reading is also a window on the soul of the apostle himself. How so? Precisely because Paul, prior to meeting the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and being converted from his former way of life, would have pinned his hope for righteousness on the very things the Christians of Galatia were embracing.
Judaism is a religion of the book (Bible) and of established practices and customs: circumcision, dietary restrictions, separation from everyone and everything profane, adherence to the precepts of the law of Moses, etc. Paul, the observant Pharisee and ardent defender of the traditions of God’s people, believed that righteousness came through his deeds and devotion, not by any heavenly grace.
How different is his message after encountering Christ! “Through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” The redemption wrought in every believer and disciple is through faith in Christ alone.
As your awareness of Christ’s love and grace at work in you has deepened, what in your earlier thinking and acting has changed?
Let us pray:
Guide me, O God, to the life and peace you impart through faith in your Son. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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