Today in Galatians 3, St. Paul has strong things to say about faith and “works of the law.” More on that in a moment. In our Gospel reading from Luke 11, we see Jesus being accused of casting out demons “by the power of Beelzebul.” Jesus responds by asking how that could be. If that were the case, then Beelzebul’s kingdom would be divided. And a house divided will certainly fall. Wise words for us to consider, huh?
St. Paul addresses the Galatians today about faith, works of the law and justification. He says “that no one is justified before God by the law is clear.” In essence, a legalistic view of and practice of Christianity just won’t cut it. Some people accuse Catholics of “working their way to heaven.” This simply can’t be done! And the Church has never taught anything of the sort. The Cathechism tells us that faith in Christ Jesus, and the One who sent Him, is necessary for salvation. Don’t see anything about “works of the law” in there.
Faith is a gift freely given by God. We can choose to accept or reject it any time. When we do accept the gift of faith in Christ Jesus, then we will naturally want to imitate Him. This is where our good works come in. And these are different from Paul’s notion of “works of the law.” These were the rules and regulations to be followed by the Jews. Not caring for the poor, orphans and widows, etc. Those are the things we do to imitate and follow Christ. And, though good, these alone will not get you into heaven. Only Christ can do that. And that has been the teaching of the Church from the beginning.
Father, we thank you for giving us the gift of our faith. May our faith in Christ Jesus always manifest itself into good works, as we show our faith and love. Amen.