Posted by: livingscripture | October 9, 2010

Twenty Seventh Saturday of Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

The Law was our disciplinarian for Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian.  For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.

    Galatians 3: 24-26          

 How should we live this Word

 The contrast between law and faith returns often in Paul and, at times, with a subtle polemic.  Has the zealous Pharisee of the past perhaps rejected the law so strenuously defended by him before?  Does he now consider it a useless burden?  No!  Paul recognizes the validity of the Law as preliminary to Christ but is also aware of its relativity.

The norms serve to define the limits of the road, to indicate the direction so as not to get lost in the confusion created by more or less valid ideologies.  They are often contradictory and can lead to a ‘do it yourself’ ethic.  Every person creates their own morality, abrogating the right to define what is good and what is evil.  This is none other than Adam’s sin cropping up in the various generations.

Paul comments that the law is a good disciplinarian but it is not absolute.  Good and evil can be distinguished in its light and we can be aware of our radical impotence to save ourselves.  Although we see and desire the good that the law indicates, we end up by doing the evil we do not want to do.  Thus we discover that we are slaves to sin (Cf. Romans 7: 14-24).  The awareness of this heavy limitation leads us to understand and to appreciate Christ’s gift in disposing us to adhere to Him with an act of faith.  We are freed from this humiliating slavery and elevated to the dignity of God’s children.  We are thus committed to live in conformity with this and at the same time, we are given the possibility to do so with the support of grace.                                                   

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will let this consoling certainty penetrate me: through faith I am a child and not a slave.  The sign of this freedom is my free adhesion to the good, with the help of grace.  With deep gratitude, I will make Paul’s cry my own: 

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, Our Lord!

The voice of St. Ireneus of Lyons

The law was imposed on slaves.  It educated souls with exterior and corporal means, drawing them like a chain to the observance of the commandments so that humans would learn to obey God.  But by freeing the soul, the Word taught even the body to embrace a spontaneous purification under the dominion of the soul.  This done, it was necessary to undo the chains of slavery that humans were accustomed to and invite them to serve God without chains.

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