When St. Paul writes his letter to the people of the Church in Galatia, he’s writing because of a challenge to his teaching, and a change in the way that they are living out their faith. Paul taught them that the Law of Moses was only part of the truth of God. He taught that the rest of God’s will for Creation was revealed in the life and person of Jesus. And Paul taught that the complete revelation of God showed us the right way to live in relationship, the division, and purity that the Law of Moses required.
Paul is not saying that the Law was wrong, he’s teaching that it can only get us so far. The rules we learn when we are in school are true and good, but they can be superseded once we graduate and understand their use and limits. This isn’t at all the same thing as saying there are no rules, or that rules don’t apply to a life lived in faith. Now that we know that Love is the Way, we can cross the boundaries and bring the light of the Gospel to those previously apart.
The question about boundaries and purity, the questions of who and what can be tolerated by the community of God’s children, isn’t historical. Much of the division in the World today centers on the same sorts of questions. People who reject others because they can bear to be in their presence or in relationship with them are acting out of the same impulse as those who were taught by the Law. But there is a deeper Law…
Direct link to this sermon video here.