In our first reading today, St. Paul told the Galatians that they should not submit to the yoke of slavery because Christ set them free.
God freed the Israelites from the bondage in Egypt but they were obligated to follow the Mosaic law which Paul compared to slavery.
Through His death and resurrection, Christ gave us the freedom to rise above the requirements of the Mosaic law and pursue a closer relationship with God.
Religious piety can fulfill an important function in our lives but it cannot be a substitute for a right relationship with God based on our faith in Jesus and understanding the significance of His death and resurrection.
When we are open to this gift of faith, it cannot remain passive. An active faith allows us to receive the Holy Spirit Who changes our hearts. When we are open to the Holy Spirit, His fruits of love, joy, peace and patience are instilled in us and inspire a life of Christian service.
Later this week we will hear St. Paul tell the Galatians that Christian freedom is led by the Holy Spirit. This interior freedom can give us the insight and compassion to better understand our own struggles with spiritual bondage and those of other people. This freedom can also give us the courage we need to overcome these struggles.
As we reflect on Christian freedom in our own lives, let us pray for the faith we need to cast off any yokes or burdens we still carry.
-Deacon Steve Whiteman