Set Free

Brothers and sisters:
It is written that Abraham had two sons,
one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman.
The son of the slave woman was born naturally,
the son of the freeborn through a promise.
Now this is an allegory.
These women represent two covenants.
One was from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery;
this is Hagar.
But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother.
For it is written:

Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children;
break forth and shout, you who were not in labor;
for more numerous are the children of the deserted one
than of her who has a husband.

Therefore, brothers and sisters,
we are children not of the slave woman
but of the freeborn woman.

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm
and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

(Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31-5:1)   

Scripture Study

The Law of Moses, which was divinely revealed, was something good; it suited the circumstances of the time. Christ came to bring this Law to perfection (cf. notes on Mt 5:17–19 and Gal 5:14–15). All the elaborate legal and ritual prescriptions in the Mosaic Law were laid down by God for a specific stage in salvation history, that is, the stage that ended with the coming of Christ. Christians are under no obligation to follow the letter of that Law (cf. St Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, 1–2, 108, 3 ad 3).

Although in this letter to the Galatians the Apostle is emphasizing, as we have seen, freedom from the Law of Moses, obviously this liberation cannot be entirely disconnected from freedom in general. If someone submits to circumcision after being baptized, it amounts to subjecting oneself to a series of practices which have now no value, and to depriving oneself of the fruits of Christ’s Redemption. In other words, subjection to the Law brings with it a loss of freedom in general. Paul is using the full might of his apostolic authority when he says, “If you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.” Christ’s Redemption alone is effective; it has no need of the rites of the Old Testament.[1]

Reflection

For freedom Christ set us free.”

How do we define personal freedom? Is it about having the ability to do whatever we want whenever we want to? Does this type of freedom truly set us free? How can such an inward, self-focused view of life set us free? Do we not become a ‘slave’ to our insatiable desires? “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.” (I Cor 6:12)

Christ asks us to see freedom from an externally focused lens, set on being free from selfishness and living a life of selfless love. We are set free when we understand that true freedom comes in living the love of Christ in all that we are – through our words and actions. 

 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

[1] Saint Paul’s Letters to the Romans & Galatians, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 166.