Galations 3:1-9

Paul starts out strong about the reality at hand. This reality is that nobody can have utterly perfect observance in the law. It is too hard. We are all sinners (Rm 3:23). We have all sinned against God, ourselves and each other. We have already produced a deficiency in our behavior. This is something we cannot overcome or undo. What is done is done. Therefore, we cannot merit anything from God by our actions in themselves. Our only recourse is to beg God for mercy.

But to beg God means to have faith that He can and would save us. In other words, it means that we need faith. Therefore, only when we accept the gift of Faith, the faith God has freely given us, only then can we find the courage to beg for His mercy. Our experience should be that of God’s mercy (v4). This experience of God’s endless grace should give us the confidence of faith, in the balance of humility.

Paul holds Abraham as a model of faith in God (6). Abraham opened his heart and mind to God and in doing so, he entered into a relationship with God. You have faith in people you have a relationship with. So it is with God. How it would hurt a parent when a child does not have faith in their parents. How it hurts God when we choose not to have faith in Him. The Galatians were fooled by believing in the law and mere works. Many of us today get fooled into sports, money, being liked, fear or any other weakness we may have. Like Abraham, when we have faith in God, the works will always follow. The works, as God designed it, is faith that is in action. Faith produces the works. But so many people do not know what that means or what kind of works they are.

Faith allows us to do the works of God himself. Through faith, God enters into our souls and bodies. We become holy temples of God. He fills our minds and hearts with His very self, and so it is God who acts within us (Gal 2:20). Like our relationships with our parents, or any relationship we may have with anybody who wills the good for us; if we do not trust them, we cannot benefit from what they offer. Faith is not a once and for all decision. Like relationships, faith comes and goes. Faith is based on our relationships with the people at hand. Relationships between spouses are constantly changing, hopefully for the better. The way they interact and grow in trust, understanding, patience and forgiveness is the foundation in which their relationship is growing and faith in each other is balanced.

Spouses offend each other and therefore cause each other to doubt the relationship they have with each other. God never does anything wrong and never does any kind of evil towards us. We have every reason to trust him. But when we sin or suffering comes along, we begin to doubt our relationship with Him. When we suffer here below, we learn to trust in God all the more. At least that is what we should be doing. It is our decision on how we react to adversity that defines our relationship with God and our faith in Him. It is a decision we make every day we get up.

When spouses believe in each other and trust each other, they want to do good for each other. Faith in each other allows them to truly love each other in selflessness. This is where works comes in. It is not concerned about the law. It goes beyond the law, that can only condemn. Because faith is so intertwined with the state of relationship one has with the other, it also allows love to be fostered and grow. So faith and love go hand in hand. All said and done, faith inspires the soul to please God.

Abraham was indeed blessed and we are his spiritual children in faith (7). We look forward to receiving all the graces that await us for those who have faith. What a wonderful relationship we have in Christ Jesus as we trust in Him.

On the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church

WITH A FATHER’S HEART: that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as “the son of Joseph.”

Matthew and Luke, the two Evangelists who speak most of Joseph, tell us very little, yet enough for us to appreciate what sort of father he was, and the mission entrusted to him by God’s providence.

We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), betrothed to Mary (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27).

He was a “just man” (Mt1:19), ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him in the Law (cf. Lk 2:22.27.39) and through four dreams (cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13.19.22). After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since “there was no place for them” elsewhere (cf. Lk 2:7). He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (cf. Mt 2:1-12), who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.

Joseph is a beloved father

The greatness of Saint Joseph is that he was the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. In this way, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, “at the service of the entire plan of salvation.”

Saint Paul VI pointed out that Joseph concretely expressed his fatherhood “by making his life a sacrificial service to the mystery of the incarnation and its redemptive purpose. He employed his legal authority over the Holy Family to devote himself completely to them in his life and work. He turned his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of himself, his heart and all his abilities, a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home.”

Thanks to his role in salvation history, Saint Joseph has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people. This is shown by the countless churches dedicated to him worldwide, the numerous religious Institutes, Confraternities and ecclesial groups inspired by his spirituality and bearing his name, and the many traditional expressions of piety in his honour. Innumerable holy men and women were passionately devoted to him. Among them was Teresa of Avila, who chose him as her advocate and intercessor, had frequent recourse to him and received whatever graces she asked of him. Encouraged by her own experience, Teresa persuaded others to cultivate devotion to Joseph.

Every prayer book contains prayers to Saint Joseph. Special prayers are offered to him each Wednesday and especially during the month of March, which is traditionally dedicated to him.

Popular trust in Saint Joseph is seen in the expression “Go to Joseph,” which evokes the famine in Egypt, when the Egyptians begged Pharaoh for bread. He in turn replied: “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do” (Gen 41:55). Pharaoh was referring to Joseph the son of Jacob, who was sold into slavery because of the jealousy of his brothers (cf. Gen 37:11-28) and who – according to the biblical account – subsequently became viceroy of Egypt (cf. Gen 41:41-44).

As a descendant of David (cf. Mt 1:16-20), from whose stock Jesus was to spring according to the promise made to David by the prophet Nathan (cf. 2 Sam 7), and as the spouse of Mary of Nazareth, Saint Joseph stands at the crossroads between the Old and New Testaments.


O Blessed St Joseph, tenderhearted father, faithful guardian of Jesus, chaste spouse of the Mother of God, we pray and beseech thee to offer to God the Father His divine Son, bathed in blood on the Cross for sinners, and through the thrice holy Name of Jesus, obtain for us from the Eternal Father the favor we implore.

(Name your request.)

Appease the Divine anger so justly inflamed by our crimes, beg of Jesus mercy for thy children. Amid the splendors of eternity, forget not the sorrows of those who suffer, those who pray, those who weep; stay the Almighty arm which smites us, that by thy prayers and those of thy most holy spouse, the Heart of Jesus may be moved to pity and to pardon.


~St Joseph, pray for us.~

Galatians 2

In the beginning of the second chapter, Paul talks about the council of Jerusalem and the debate about the necessity of circumcision. Most of the apostles were taken up by the false teaching, but Paul was able to challenge this direction. Through the centuries, the Church always goes through turbulence as to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We humans, in our ignorance and some in their malice, try to promote new false teachings about Jesus and morals. These false teachings are very important to correct.

What a person believes, they act on. If you believe someone is acting out of malice, you respond as if it were true. You may get angry, start judging them, gossip, or even will the evil for them. But if you know the person did not mean it, then you may be more forgiving. What we perceive to be reality, we act on. If we are not sure, we are slow to act on it.

Many Christians think that God loves them for what they do, be it following the law or doing nice things. For some it is a matter of checking the box, so they can think God owes them heaven, or by doing so many good things to outweigh the bad. It is kind of like buying flowers for the wife when you get in trouble. If this is what a person believes, they act accordingly. Some will do many great things, only to burn themselves out or have a chip on their shoulder. Others will live a lukewarm life, checking off the box but never coming to a relationship with God, resenting the checkbox. This mentality steals faith away and sets them up for hell. This is why Paul is so passionate about this subject.

The New Law is to be placed in our hearts when we respond to God’s gift. The New Law is the fulfillment of the Old Law. The standard of the New Law is actually harder to follow. The Old Law dealt with the checklist of physical and observable actions, whereas the New Law pierces into the heart, because it gets into the motives with the interior life. This makes sense. Jesus died on the cross for you, not so you would have a superficial relationship with Him. He wants a deep relationship with you. If this is reality, then you would act accordingly.

We are judged by our relationship with God. When we judge relationships with others, we look at how they treated us (morals), their interactions with us and our loved ones (worship), the conversations we have (prayers), the trust we have in each other (faith) and more. This does not mean the Old Law is no good (v17-18). God is still offended by transgressions against the Ten Commandments; anybody who says otherwise is not with God.

It is the laws of Moses that were changed, or rather, transformed to heighten our relationship with God. Circumcision was a means by which the Jewish people were claimed by God the Father as a prefigurement of baptism. The manna in the desert was a symbol of the Eucharist we have at Mass. Moses is a symbol of Jesus, but also the pope and the priesthood interceding for the people. The mere symbols give way to the sacraments and the reality they convey. The reality they convey is God’s grace: mercy, peace, joy, purity, love and healing. So the sacraments do not convey law; they convey the heart of God for each soul according to the needs of each soul.

That is how God would enter into a relationship with us.