Galatians 3: 22-29
These are interesting readings for us today. They encourage and challenge us to seek the kernel of our belief, ‘Jesus Christ’!
The categories that divide us today may be different than in Paul’s day, but divisions persist in our parishes and in the broader church — divisions that run along lines of ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, political affiliation, and any number of other factors. These are things that Paul suggests are transitory – they won’t last and don’t need to last. Our faith and belief in Jesus brings these divisions to an end.
We can set each other up in terms of defining people in terms of their stance on particular issues just as Covid brought about the sue of difference between vaxed and unvaxed. The label became more important than the people.
Paul reminds us again as he does many times in Galatians that whatever human categories may describe us, they do not define us, “for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” All human categories are subordinate and ultimately irrelevant to our primary identity as members of the body of Christ. So, we in and through our humanity struggle to be that body bringing together difference in all human forms. To be centred on Jesus will require us to allow the spirit of the lord to dwell within each of us – to bring good news to those who are lost afraid, broken to bind their wound and heal them through compassion mercy and justice.
So, in turn the gospel reading has a woman in the crowd crying out to Jesus; “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” The gospel shows that actions always speak louder than words. If we are honest for a short time there are many cases where we applaud God’s words, but we do not obey them. Our churches are emptying for a variety of reasons and we hold onto the things of this world. We simply hear words, even give praise, only to either ignore it, or in worse cases, disobey. To put Jesus front and centre means we can learn from Mary his mother. A model disciple who shows in word and deed what is required. God in Jesus informs us in no uncertain terms that it is better to ‘do’ than ‘say’.
Therefore what we can take from these readings is to 1. Ponder or meditate on the word 2. Bring forth an action and 3. take it out, share it bring God’s work in and through us to fruition. So, my friends once we have heard the ‘word’ we must make it stay in us, not keeping it in cold storage but allowing it to grow through successive stages in our lives.
“To live is to grow, to grow is to change, to become perfect is to have changed often” Cardinal Newman
Paul Traynor is married to Clare and has two children Sam and Lucy. He lives in Greytown which is in the Wairarapa Region on the North Island of New Zealand. Paul is currently working as the National Passionist Family Groups Coordinator for Aotearoa, New Zealand.