Brothers and sisters, good morning!
Saint Paul, who loved Jesus and had clearly understood what salvation was, has taught us that the “children of the promise” (Gal 4: 28) – that is all of us, justified by Jesus Christ – are no longer bound by the Law, but are called to the demanding life-style of the freedom of the Gospel. The Law however exists. But there exists another way: the same Law, the Ten Commandments, but with another way, because it could no longer be justified by itself once the Lord had come. And therefore, in today’s catechesis I would like to explain this. And we ask: what, according to the Letter to the Galatians, is the role of the Law? In the passage we have heard, Paul says that the Law was like a pedagogue. It is a beautiful image, that of the pedagogue we spoke about during the last audience, an image that deserves to be understood in its correct meaning.
The Apostle seems to suggest that Christians divide the history of salvation in two parts, and also his personal story, There are two periods: before becoming believers in Christ Jesus and after receiving the faith. At the centre is the event of the death and resurrection of Jesus, which Paul preached in order to inspire faith in the Son of God, the source of salvation, and in Christ Jesus we are justified. Therefore, starting from faith in Christ there is a “before” and an “after” with regard to the Law itself, because the Law exists, the Commandments exist, but there is one attitude before the coming of Jesus, and another one afterwards. The previous history is determined by being “under the Law”. And one who followed the path of the Law was saved, justified; the subsequent history, after the coming of Jesus, was to be lived by following the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:25). This is the first time that Paul uses this expression: to be “under the Law”. The underlying meaning implies the idea of a negative servitude, typical of slaves: to be “under”. The Apostle makes it explicit by saying that when one is “under the Law” it is as if one is “watched” and “locked up”, a kind of preventive custody. This period, says Saint Paul, has lasted a long time – from Moses, to the coming of Jesus – and is perpetuated as long as one lives in sin.