Brothers and sisters:
Realize that it is those who have faith
who are children of Abraham. Scripture, which saw in advance that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith,
foretold the good news to Abraham, saying,
Through you shall all the nations be blessed.
Consequently, those who have faith are blessed
along with Abraham who had faith.
For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse;
for it is written, Cursed be everyone
who does not persevere in doing all the things
written in the book of the law.
And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear,
for the one who is righteous by faith will live.
But the law does not depend on faith;
rather, the one who does these things will live by them.
Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,
for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,
that the blessing of Abraham might be extended
to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,
so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
What a great reading as we begin this Year of Faith. In St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he urges them to be people of faith and not to base their salvation on the law. Some people claim that this reading goes against the Catholic teaching of works.
First of all, the Catholic Church teaches that for salvation, faith is primary. Then secondarily, as St. James writes, “faith without works is dead”. If our faith does not pour forth into loving action, it is lifeless.
St. Paul is not talking about works of love in this reading today. He is referring to people who tried to save themselves by following the letter of the law without faith or love. This type of passion-less rule follower is what Paul is speaking against.
When our hearts have been captured by the love of Jesus Christ, we not only have faith but our faith is animated by works of love. If this relationship with Christ is not present, we go through the motions. We try to earn God’s love by following the letter of the law. Now, it is not bad to follow rules and laws of faith. However, the Lord wants us to have life and in abundance. This happens when we know Jesus, are convinced that He is the savior of the world, and all of our actions are decided by this relationship.
I love this quote from Fr. Pedro Arupe, SJ: “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
How do you spend your weekends?
What do you read?
What breaks your heart?
What amazes you with joy and gratitude?
Have a blessed day!
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