Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

(Galatians 3:7-14; Luke 11:15-26)

Pelagius was a fifth century monk who thought like many moderns. He taught that humans do not need God to be good. Rather, he claimed that human nature has the wherewithal to avoid sin.  These ideas were condemned by the Church, and the passage from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians that we read today indicates why.

For Paul the experience of trying to fulfill the 613 precepts of the Jewish Law inevitably ends in failure. It is like trying to cross the ocean in a Volkswagen.  The vehicle is simply not up to the task.  But God in His mercy has sent His son to provide viable means.  Acknowledging him as Lord and undergoing his death and resurrection through Baptism will provide the necessary grace for a holy life.

“Is the act of believing then a human work?” we may want to ask.  In other words, do we cooperate with God’s grace?  These are highly nuanced and hotly debated questions.  Certainly, the act of faith engages the human will.  But it hardly takes an effort for the wise to believe when God’s graciousness is juxtaposed with human folly.