27th Week, Thursday, Oct 8

Galatians 3:1-5 / Luke 11:5-13

Paul challenges the Galatians: Your life comes from the Gospel, not the Law. 

 Conservative Jewish converts to Christianity told Paul's Galatian converts that they must observe certain Jewish laws, like circumcision. Many Galatians agreed to be circumcised. 

When Paul learned about this, he was furious. He was not only angered by those who spread this false teaching, but also annoyed with the Galatians for being taken in. To illustrate the error of their ways, Paul asked the Galatians one single question: "Did you receive God's Spirit by doing what the Law requires or by hearing the gospel and believing it?" 


Do we sometimes lose sight of the fact that our ability to live the Christian life comes from God's Spirit uniting us to Christ's body? Jesus said, "Remain united to me . . . for you can do nothing without me." John 15:4-5 


In forensic psychiatry there are two major areas of criminal evaluations. These are Competency to Stand trial (CST) and Mental State at the Time of the Offence (MSO). Forensic psychiatrists work with courts evaluating an individual's competency to stand trial, defenses based on mental diseases or defects (e.g., the "insanity" defense), and sentencing recommendations. Putting it simply, although it may be over-simplifying things, the forensic psychiatrists determine whether those on trial are mad or bad.

In the opening lines of the 1st reading, St. Paul seemed to be asking the Galatians if they were mad or bad. Because they are turned away so quickly from the truth of the gospel and entertained other forms of practices and teachings that St. Paul had to ask if they were mad or if they were under some kind of spell.

Furthermore it was because they had believed in the truth of the gospel and hence, they received the Holy Spirit. But now they turned to other teachings and practices thinking they could get more of the power of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the simple and profound truth of gospel is that Jesus was crucified and died for our sins to save us. Believing in that would open us to live our lives in the Spirit.

And if we live our lives in the Spirit, then what Jesus said in the gospel would certainly be true: Ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. We just need to persevere and persist in believing the truth and to believe that the Holy Spirit would lead us along the way. Believing in something else may mean that we are either mad or really bad.


Thursday October 8


Like the Galatians, we fall easily prey to the perpetual temptation of creating our own righteousness, of trying to save ourselves by rites and practices. These give us a feeling of security. And then comes the thought, usually disguised: If I am above reproach, if I have done my duty, I am safe. In no uncertain terms Paul tells us: you are saved not by the Law but by faith in Christ.
Luke tells us that Jesus prayed often. And insistently, as at his agony. Now he tells us that Jesus wants us too to be persevering, insistent and even bold in our prayer. For God is good. How can he resist us when we pray? He will give us not only good things but also the Holy Spirit, the gift that contains all gifts.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
when we cry out to you,
we wonder at times whether you hear us
for your silence is sometimes oppressive.
Keep us trusting in your goodness
and your constant presence.
Give us what is good when we ask you,
and also when we forget to ask,
let us find you when we seek you,
open to us when we knock,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul’s anger in Galatians at times almost sears the pages. There are members of the community who want to incorporate the Jewish law into their belief. For Paul, this is nothing short of sacrilegious. He asks them to stop and reflect. Did they receive the Spirit from faith in what he preached or from the works of the law? Paul finds their move senseless. For Paul, it is faith in the salvific work of Christ that makes us holy, not any work of our own, as good as it may be.
The Gospel today reminds us that our God is a good and loving Father. Precisely because he is so good, we should be dutiful in carrying out his will and confident in expressing our needs, "lb place the law between God and the believer would mean that we must work to attain his favor. Such is not the case. We are loved simply because we are.
Paul rightly asks, What brought faith to Galatia—the word that was preached or works of the law? It was the faith that was preached, of course. What counts is not the things that we do but rather our faith in the One who has done the work for us.

Points to Ponder
The faith that saves
The role of works
Perseverance in prayer

– For those in the Church to whom the ministry of forgiveness had been especially entrusted, that they may be uncompromising with evil, yet welcome sinners with respect and merciful love, we pray:
– For contemplative monks and nuns, that we may appreciate their life of penance and prayer and be grateful for the Lord’s blessings they obtain for us, we pray:
– For all Christians, that our prayers for the poor and the suffering may commit us more to bring them justice, to lighten their burdens and restore their dignity, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
you let us experience your goodness
by giving us Jesus, your Son.
In these signs of bread and wine
we express our trust in you.
Be merciful to us and hear our prayers.
Grant us the bread of your Son
and the things we need in life
for the sake of Jesus Christ,
you Son and our Lord for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
in answer to our pleading
you have given the bread of life,
to us, your special possession.
Accept our thanks
and help us not to be deaf
to the cries of those who appeal to us.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” For God is good and he blesses you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.