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Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Gal. 37-14 & Luke 11:15-26

Saint Paul tried to get the Galatians to see that if you have faith in Jesus, there is no need to undertake the observance of the Mosaic Law. To demonstrate this truth, he pointed to the great model of faith - Abraham. God called Abraham to uproot himself from his country and he responded because of his trust in God, although His promises of children and land must have seemed rather distant to him. Abraham waited years until he saw the promise fulfilled. In faith, Abraham surrendered everything to God, even his son Isaac, because he had experienced God's touch, and that touch had set his heart on fire.

Abraham's unshakeable trust pleased God. Abraham "believed the Lord, and he reckoned it to him as righteousness" (Gen 15:6). It was Abraham's belief in God's love that moved him to such radical obedience; this in turn led to abundant blessings. That is why Paul applied the words of the prophet Habakkuk to Abraham, "The righteous man finds life through faith" (Gal. 3:11 see Hab. 2:4).

"What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus was asked. He answered, "Believe in Him Whom He has sent . I am the living Bread Which came down from Heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever" (Jn. 6:28-29, 51). Thus the way to everlasting life is to believe in Jesus Who gave His body and blood on Calvary. In receiving Him we have forgiveness of sins and new life welling up into eternity.

Do you believe that God loves you so much that He chose to rescue you "by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus"? (Rom. 3:24). Through Jesus, God not only saves us from what should have been the fate of fallen humanity but also transforms us within. Can you trust that
"justification is not only the remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man?" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1989). These truths are central to being a true follower of Christ. Let us obey God, not in an effort to gain His favour, but in response to His saving love.

Jesus tells us in today's Gospel, "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters." He might have added by way of explanation that He who does not help Him to carry the Cross actually makes it heavier. And that he who does not walk with Him and talk with Him and
work with Him and live with Him is surely following someone else besides Him.

If you wonder whether you are a true follower of Christ or not, whether you are for Christ or against Christ, you can easily find out by asking yourself - and a Friday is certainly a good day to do this - am I helping Christ carry His Cross? Am I denying myself to be of help to others when they are in need? Christ gave His life for all of us. Am I willing to carry the Cross a little, out of love for the poor, the needy or the lonely? Can I sacrifice a little of my time, my energy or my money so that others may live more decently and more happily?

Are we with Christ in our thoughts and words? Is our prayer life a sign that Christ is often with us and we with Him? Friends tend to be together a lot. If we are with Christ, if we consider Him our friend, we will be with Him regularly in prayer.

Christ is still with us in His Church. He makes His will known to us through the Church in many areas. Are we with the Church? Do we live for Christ by living with and for the Church? Or do we perhaps knock the Church, knocking Christ and being against Him?

Lord Jesus, have mercy on us, for we have sinned against You! By the help of Your grace may we never sin again.

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