This week we read from the Letter to the Galatians, who were mostly pagans whom St. Paul converted on his second missionary journey through Asia Minor. When Paul left, some Jewish Christians arrived and were enticing the new converts to adopt Jewish practices, especially that of circumcision. They also called Paul’s authority into question, saying he wasn’t among the original witnesses to Jesus’ life and resurrection.
With emotion, Paul voices amazement that the Galatians are listening to the newcomers and losing sight of the faith they’ve learned. Offering an account of his own call, Paul claims communion with the other apostles and defends his authority to preach the gospel.
But the great theme of his letter is belief in Jesus Christ, who was crucified. “Stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?”
Some of the apostle’s most beautiful confessions of his personal faith appear in this letter. “I have been crucified with Christ, yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
The Son of God, in the cursed condition of hanging on a tree! What greater love can there be? That was the promise Abraham saw in faith and that’s the revelation the gentiles see in the Crucified Christ.
That’s the faith we are called to embrace as we live out our days in the flesh. “I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
- Fr. Victor Hoagland, C.P.