Sons and Daughters of Abraham
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

About twenty years after Pentecost, Paul having ministered in the Roman province of Galatia, had left behind a growing Christian community whose roots were mostly pagan.

After his departure, his converts were influenced by fellow Christians from other locations who believed, as did many of the Church leaders in Jerusalem, that in order to be a good Christian one had, first of all, to become a good Jew. This necessarily involved circumcision and obedience to the Law of Moses.

Paul hotly disagreed with this and wrote the letter from which we have just read to counteract this view. The whole issue was finally decided by Peter in Paulís favour.

While Paul maintained that converts from paganism did not need to become Jews, he did place a high value on his own Jewish roots and called upon all Christians to recognize in Abraham, as we all do to this day, a model of faith.

The key word here is FAITH. Paul considered that Christians though linked to Jews through Faith and Promise, were not bound by the Law of Moses. He insisted that the promise to Abraham that preceded the Law was fulfilled in Jesus Christ and that the Law has therefore served itís purpose.

The promise that God made to Abraham was simple but powerful. "I will be your God and you and your descendants will be my people."

Paul, then, believed that as a Christian he was still very much a son of Abraham and he extended this relationship to all of the baptized because, as we read in Matthew, chapter 1, Jesus is a descendant of Abraham and therefore all who are baptized into Christ are heirs to Godís promise to Abraham. Jew or Greek, man or woman, slave or free makes no difference. We are all one in Christ in whom Godís promise to Abraham is fulfilled.

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