For freedom Christ set us free. 

Imagine if every time you got in your car, you consulted a big, heavy book that explained the many rules of the road.   That would make driving pretty difficult, wouldn’t it?   As it is, you already know the traffic laws.   You probably even know the unwritten rules of driving etiquette.   In fact, if you’ve been driving for any length of time, most of these laws have become instinctive.

The Galatian Christians were dealing with a similar issue.   Paul warned that they were taking their observance of the Law of Moses to an unhealthy extreme.   They had lost sight of the fact that through his cross and resurrection, Jesus had fulfilled the just requirements of the Law.   Circumcision was no longer necessary; what was necessary instead was “faith working through love,” the evidence of a life transformed by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:6).

Although we live in different times, we can still fall into a similar trap.   We may not be concerned about Jewish ritual law, but there are plenty of other ways we can think that God’s grace isn’t enough to set us free.   Maybe we think that we need to work extra hard to get his attention and approval.   Maybe we treat Mass superstitiously, thinking that showing up every Sunday will guarantee us a place in heaven.   Or perhaps we judge other people as worthy or unworthy based on our own criteria instead of seeing them through the eyes of divine mercy and love.

All of these attitudes run contrary to the heart of the gospel message:   Jesus has given his life for our sins, and he has given us his Spirit to empower us to live a new life.   Wherever that Spirit is, there is freedom! Freedom from condemnation and fear.   Freedom to live in love and to walk in peace.   We don’t have to be absolutely perfect.   Rather, we can accept our redemption as a gift freely given—and we can freely give our lives back to the Father in return.

Word Among Us