Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection 10-6-22

Reflection for the 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 10-6-22, Year C
Readings: Gal 3:1-5; Ps Lk 1:69-75; Gospel Lk 11:5-13
Optional Memorial: St. Bruno, Priest; Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, Virgin
Theme: Law & Faith

“O stupid Galatians!” Wow, not many people would appreciate being called stupid, but that is exactly what St. Paul said to the Christian community of Galatia. You can just hear the frustration in St. Paul’s voice as he contends with their lack of understanding in separating the Jewish law from faith in Jesus’ Gospel. For St. Paul, this is a time when the seed fell on rocky ground. The people heard the Word and received it with joy. But they did not sprout roots and it only lasted for a time. When some tribulation or persecution came because of the Word, they immediately fell away. (Mt 13:20-21)

For the Galatians, the rocky ground was the law. The Galatians were primarily pagan converts who were being enticed by other missionaries to add the observance of the Jewish law, including the rite of circumcision, to the cross of Christ as a means of salvation.1 They were not formed enough in their faith to the point of complete belief in what they were taught about Jesus and His word. So, it did not take much for them to turn their hearts away from Christ and to the law of men.

In the previous chapter of Galatians, St. Paul says, “even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Gal 2:16) The people of Galatia were easily turned by persuasive arguments that the law must take precedence over this new Gospel. St. Paul emphatically says no it does not and was astounded at the ease by which the Galatians turned from all they had witnessed and received from the Holy Spirit.

In today’s world, we see the same rocky ground that people are rooted in. Our societal ways of the world are taking precedence over God’s word and Jesus’ teaching. God is becoming secondary as we are being persuaded by many humanistic arguments to focus on ourselves rather than God’s will. After we have seen and heard and read about all God has done, we still turn toward what we know and experience here on earth rather than faith in what is to come.

Luckily for the Galatians, they had St. Paul to put them back on the path of faith through his persistence. He did not give up but kept working with them until their faith was fully formed to the point that they would ask and receive, seek, and find, and knock so the door opens. This is what Jesus was teaching in the Gospel of Luke today. He is asking that we be persistent and stick to the teachings of faith with those whose faith is not fully formed, but to do it with patience and understanding.

If we, who are sinners, can help others receive the gift of faith from God, how much more will God in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who now seek Him in faith? The amount of this gift is beyond our comprehension!

NAB – St. Joseph Version – The Letter to the Galatians – Introduction

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL