28th Week, Monday, Oct 12

Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31 - 5:1 / Luke 11:29-32

Paul talks about Christians: We are children of the new covenant.

 Ancient marriage contracts required that a sterile wife provide her husband with a substitute wife for childbearing, so that they could have an heir. This explains why Abraham had a son by Hagar, his wife’s maid. Later, when Sarah bore Abraham a son, that son, Isaac, replaced the maid’s son. Paul compares the old covenant to the maid’s son and the new covenant to Sarah’s son. His point is that Christians are children of the new covenant and are saved by faith in Jesus, not by antiquated Jewish practices like circumcision.


How deep is our own faith in Jesus? How do we nourish it and keep it alive? “It is never a question with any of us of faith and not faith; the question always is, ‘In what or in whom do we put our faith?’” Anonymous


As human beings, we desire for independence and freedom. Even as babies, we would want to take the first step on our own towards whatever direction we want to go. And with that we want to experience the freedom that we gain from our independence. Yet if independence and freedom is understood in a warped way, then it would result in warped actions. Because with independence and freedom comes greater responsibility and accountability. There will be no one to fight your battles for you and you can't push the blame on anyone else for something you did wrong.

Yes, the price of independence and freedom is constant vigilance and alertness in case we go astray and end up doing something crazy. The 1st reading said that when Christ freed us, He meant us to remain free. The reading also urged us to stand firm and not to submit again to the yoke of slavery. To remain free would mean for us to remain in Christ and to belong to Him and committed to Him.
Without Christ, we can do nothing and we would also end up as nothing. We have seen enough of signs to tell us that people who want to go their way without God won't be able to find peace and joy that easily. Yes, the price of independence and freedom is to stand by Jesus and depend on Him totally. That is hardly a price at all.


Monday of 28th Week

In a rather difficult passage, Paul speaks to us today of freedom: We are born free as Christians, as people of the New Testament. Now that Christ has set us free, we should see to it that we are never enslaved again. Paul himself is a striking example of this “liberating freedom”: he has freed himself from pharisaism and could even take a free stance regarding the other apostles when Christian freedom was at stake. Are we free persons?
Jesus reprimands the Jews for not believing unless they see spectacular signs. But Christ proclaims that faith consists in trust in the word and in the person of the one who is sent. The early Christian community specified further: faith rests in confidence in the risen Christ. The preeminent sign is Jesus Christ himself. We believe not because of this or that wonder or proof but because Jesus makes God visible to us.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
your Son remained a free person
even in the face of death:
Life was not taken from him,
he gave it in freedom to you and to us,
that we might be free people.
Keep us free from slavery in any form,
from the evil of sin first of all,
but also from our own fears and complexes,
the pressures of people, the herd spirit,
that we may be faithful to the gospel
and free for people and for you.
This we ask you through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Slavery made a slow exit from human history. It played a part in American life until the nineteenth century, and there are still parts of the world in our time that live in social oppression. It certainly played a part in Israelite life. In today’s reading Paul takes up the story of Sarah and Hagar. The former was the free woman, the latter a slave girl. But Paul turns the account on its head. And the key players take on exactly the opposite roles.
There are two covenants involved, one from Mount Sinai, the other from Jerusalem, from above. The Christian is a child of the heavenly covenant, a child of the free woman, a child of the Abraham of faith.
We err indeed if we believe that we have been born into a religion of rules and regulations. We have been born into a community of faith, confident that God has acted on our behalf in his Son. Once a part of that community, we give expression to our gratitude in conduct that renders God’s glory and respects the dignity and worth of every human being. This is the meaning of being a child of the free woman.

Points to Ponder
The two sons of Abraham
The covenant of law and the covenant of freedom
The One greater than Jonah

– For the leaders of nations, that they may respect and promote human rights and work relentlessly for justice, happiness and freedom for their people, we pray:
– For the oppressed and the exploited, that they may not take their marginal existence as the will of God, but that they may become conscious that they too are called to be free, we pray:
– For this community, that we may not shut up ourselves within little prisons of self-interest, but that we may be truly one and free in Christ as a community of service, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father,
we come before you and offer you our gifts
as your free sons and daughters.
Give us your Son as our guide
that through him we may win
the relentless struggle
to gain our interior freedom,
so that we may be fully human
and indeed your sons and daughters reborn free
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
strangely enough, we are free
when we are bound to you as your people.
In this Eucharist we have encountered again
your Son Jesus Christ.
With him, we are willing
to be all lifelong apprentices
of the freedom to serve and to love.
Let him go with us on his road
that leads to your land of freedom,
for you are our God for ever and ever.

Born free, we should never become slaves to anyone or anything. Whatever is said today, we are sons and daughters of the Father, and that is a relationship of love, and therefore of freedom. May almighty God keep you free and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.