Monday – 28th Week – Ordinary Time [II]
Gal 4:22-24,26-27,31—5:1 + Lk 11:29-32
October 10, 2016
“These women represent two covenants.”
In today’s First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, the Apostle to the Gentiles uses a very direct allegory. Abraham begat one son by a free woman, and another son by a slave woman. St. Paul sees the slave son as an allegory for those held bound by the Law, while the free son is an allegory for those who share in the freedom of Christ.
In the last line St. Paul uses this allegory for a practical purpose. “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” Many first-century Christians had begun their lives as Jews under the Law, but had converted their lives to Christ as adults as the Church began to grow. They had personally lived under the Law, and St. Paul is urging them not to regress back to living under the burden of the Law, which is a yoke of slavery.
For us Christians in the twenty-first century, we like the Galatians find temptations to live under the law. Of course, there are many civil and church laws that we are bound to, under the threat of penalties. The freedom of Christ doesn’t abolish the need for law. But St. Paul exhorts us not to believe in law of any sort. That is to say, no law can make someone a better person. Law can only indicate when someone has acted outside the boundary of what is good. Law only defines wrong-doing. Only grace, a share in the life of God, can make someone a better person.