Why Be Christian?
Saturday, October 8, 2022, 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Year CII
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today
In Galatians 3: 22-29 Paul is teaching us “the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Freedom is a major issue with Paul.
He proclaims that Jesus has set us free from:
the culture of this world and its discriminatory categories of race, nationality and social class by making us all children of God;1
sin by empowering us to live by the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” the favor of sharing in the divine life of God;2
death by giving us eternal life;3
the law by freeing us to judge all things by the mind of Christ, intent on union of mind and heart and will with him rather than on rigid rules of external behavior;4
fear by removing our fear of death and of being judged only by our moral performance.5
The basic choice Paul proposes is either to “clothe ourselves with Christ” by being baptized into living union with him, acquiring the “mind of Christ” through the gift of faith and the indwelling Spirit of God,6 or be enslaved to the blinding, myopic narrowness of a worldview restricted to the perspective of this life only and of religious laws.7
Paul calls us the “heirs” of Abraham’s spirit of faith. This, and the freedom that comes with it, is our heritage. We are charged, as faithful “stewards of God’s mysteries,” to preserve it against the “Pharisee party” in every generation who would enslave us in a legalism focused on blind conformism.
This is the lesson also of Luke 11: 27-28, in which a woman declared Mary blessed for being the biological mother of a son like Jesus: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!”
Jesus doesn’t contradict this, but he calls us to focus on the real blessing, both of Mary and of all who benefit by the “fruit of her womb”: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
We need to remember this when we defend all the rules and practices we grew up with and cling to them because they are for us visible symbols of our identity as “Catholics.” Being Catholic is a blessing for us in the measure that it makes us more able to “hear the word of God and obey it!” If it does not do this, all the rest is illusion.
1 Galatians 1:4; 3:28; Colossians 3:11.
2Acts 13:39; Romans 6:18.
3Hebrews 2:15; 8:21.
4Galatians 2:4; 5:1, 13; Romans 8:2 (law, sin, death!); 1Corinthians 9:21.
5Hebrews 2:15; Romans 8:15; anxieties 1Corinthians 7:32.
61Corinthians 2:16 and all of chapters 1-3; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 1: 7-19; Colossians 1: 9, 28; 2: 2-23; Philippians 2:5.
72Corinthians 3: 6-18; 4: 4-6.
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. Preserve freedom through focus on union with Jesus.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry