Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Galatians 3:1-5; Luke 11:5-13)
An old folk tale tells the story of John Henry, “a steel driving man.” John Henry dug tunnels through mountains by hammering a rod of steel against the rock. When his livelihood was threatened with the invention of a power drill, he challenged the makers of the drill to a contest. Who would make a tunnel through a mountain first? In the competition John Henry died of a broken heart. This story relates to both readings today.
St. Paul is upset with the Galatians for adopting the Jewish law. He tells them that it is not practicing the law which makes them just but believing in Christ. When they seek his mercy, they become true children of God. Then, as the gospel relates, they can ask for whatever they wish with assurance that it will be given. The person striving for salvation with personal works is like John Henry, who, however nobly, relies on his own resources. The person of faith, on the other hand, has the almighty power of God like the man with a power drill.
Faith in Christ is no mere lip service but a true surrendering to his ways. It means allowing one’s self to be formed according to his model. It is loving beyond measure without forsaking the other virtues. It entails dying to one’s egotistical desires in order to do the Father’s will.