Brothers and sisters, good morning!
We will continue the explanation of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians. This is not something new, this explanation, it is something mine: what we are studying is what Saint Paul says in a very serious conflict with the Galatians. And it is also the Word of God, because it entered the Bible. They are not things that someone makes up: no. It is something that happened in that time and which can repeat itself. This is simply a catechesis on the Word of God expressed in the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians; nothing else. This must always be kept in mind. And in the previous catechesis we saw how the apostle Paul shows the first Christians of Galatia how dangerous it is to leave the path they have started to travel by welcoming the Gospel. Indeed, the risk is that of giving in to formalism, which is one of the temptations that leads to hypocrisy, which we spoke about the other time. Giving in to formalism, and denying the new dignity they have received: the dignity of those redeemed by Christ. The passage we have just heard is the beginning of the second part of the Letter. So far, Paul has spoken of his life and his vocation: of how God’s grace has transformed his existence, placing it completely at the service of evangelisation. At this point, he directly challenges the Galatians: he places before them the choices they have made and their current condition, which could nullify the experience of grace they have lived.
And the terms the Apostle uses to address the Galatians are certainly not courteous: we have heard. In the other Letters it is easy to find the expressions such as “Brothers” or “dear friends”; here no, because he is angry. He says “Galatians” generically and on no less than two occasions calls them “foolish”, which is not a polite term. Foolish, senseless, may mean many things… He does so not because they are not intelligent, but because, almost without realizing it, they risk losing the faith in Christ that they have received with so much enthusiasm. They are foolish because they are unaware that the danger is that of losing the valuable treasure, the beauty, of the newness of Christ. The Apostle’s wonder and sadness are clear. Not without bitterness, he provokes those Christians into remembering his first proclamation, with which he offered them the possibility of attaining a new, hitherto unhoped-for freedom.