Galatians 3:1-5 Luke 1:69-75 Luke 11:5-13
“Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned: “Anyone who calls his brother ‘fool’ shall be liable to hell.” (Mathew 5:22). Shockingly, we hear St. Paul in today’s first reading referring to the Galatians as foolish. The question is: ‘Why was Paul being so hard on the Galatians?’ Simply put, the Jewish Christian converts made circumcision more important than the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
According to them, any newly converted Gentile, even though he or she is baptized already must be circumcised before being accepted as a member of the Church. By calling them foolish, Paul was not insulting them but making them come to terms with the error in their reasoning. Circumcision, like many Jewish practices, was just a sign of being set apart from the rest of the people but some Jews took it as the essence of their relationship with God.
Paul needed to drum into the heads of the Galatians the fact that they did not receive the Holy Spirit because they were circumcised but because of their faith. God did not allow those miracles they witnessed to happen because they were circumcised but because they accepted Jesus Christ. For Paul, it is foolish to treat the Gentiles as second-class citizens just because they are not circumcised.
This was exactly the lesson Peter learned when he went to the house of Cornelius and while speaking the Holy Spirit visibly descended on the entire household (similar to what happened on Pentecost Day) even though none of them were circumcised. (Read more in Acts 10:1-48). Peter then understood the meaning of the vision he had just before going to the home of Cornelius. God literally told Peter not to call anything He had made unclean.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus Christ gave us a parable of a friend who needed help in the middle of the night. Jesus is teaching us that even if God did not intend to answer your prayer initially, your persistence can make God change His mind for your sake. Like the friend who had to wake up his family to help out with a loaf of bread, God sacrificed His own son on our behalf because we are His friends.
Jesus did not end there. He tells us that God is also a Father; a responsible Father, a father who will not give His child a serpent in place of fish or a scorpion in place of an egg. Dear friends, prayer is never a waste of time. There is great power in the words we utter from our mouths when we pray. Recently, someone reminded me of a statement I made many months ago saying that exactly what I said is happening already. I was shocked because I had even forgotten about it, I didn’t know that God was listening.
Let us allow the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel passage to sink in deeply: “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10). Fear not. Pray with faith.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, grant me a deeper faith in you, a faith large enough to accommodate Christians from different cultural backgrounds. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of week 27 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Galatians 3:1-5 Luke 1:69-75 Luke 11:5-13)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu