Come of Age
- Reading I: Galatians 3:22-29
- Resp. Psalm: Psalm 105:2-3,6-7
- Gospel Reading: Luke 11:27-28
The day’s reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians builds up from what has been stated about the freedom of those who have been baptized. The selection from Galatians 3:22-29 lends itself easily to a Sentence Flow. It is easy to see from a constructed sentence flow that the passage’s central part, vv. 23-27 explains how Scriptures confined all under sin until we were justified by faith (vv. 22) and how there can be no distinctions among Christians now (28-29). Click here graphic for a more complete view of the text and its sentence flow. You can also download a PDF file that is minimally marked for further reference. The key structures holding the selection together are:
- the time element: Before … now
- faith and law (with this latter linked to the word "disciplinarian"
- different adverbial phrases with the word "Christ" (in, into, with, to)
Two ideas that are later on echoed in the letter to the Romans is about are found v. 26 (Romans 5:5; 8:15) and v. 27 (Romans 13:13-14). Both are notions derived from baptism which, in this selection from Galatians, signals the coming of age of those who have been redeemed.
Before the time of justification through the cross of Christ, all were "confined under sin", that is, under the discipline of the law. The law was like a trustee who watched over an heir until this one came of age and was able to act on his/her own capacity. When that period is over, and the heir has come of age, he is released from the disciplinarian and begins to live in the way a son of the household should live: in freedom. The use of prepositions and the name of Christ is Paul’s characteristic way of highlighting the idea that the status of the Christian before God cannot be separated from the Christ. If the Christian is free, it is because of Christ. That there can no longer be any distinctions within the ranks of Christians, distinctions that allocate more rights to some and not to others, is due to their having become children1. Both the freedom of Christians and their equality before God is due to the fact that they have been clothed in Christ. Thus, Paul links both freedom and equality to the new dignity of the Christian as a "child of God."
- Luke 11:27-28
- Faith is not just accepting the Word of God; faith also carries it out. Luke knows quite well that faith and obedience go together. In fact, Paul calls faith "obedience" (Romans 1:5; 16:26)2. Thus, Jesus’ remark to the woman who has just blessed his mother. Jesus by his reply does not only validate what Mary earlier had said ("All generations shall call me blessed") but also acknowledges her as the first disciple.
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