Yesterday, the fiftieth anniversary of the calling of the Second Vatican Council, marked the beginning of a Year of Faith that Pope Benedict called for in his encyclical, Porta Fidei. In that document, he calls on all of us Catholics to throw open the doors of faith, to rediscover who we are as the People of God, and to underscore the grace that comes through living our faith.
Saint Paul all this week has been trying to convince those “foolish Galatians” that they should abandon the nonsense that they have been fed by other preachers. These men apparently had been convincing them that they had to accept all of the precepts of the Jewish Law in order to be Christians. Saint Paul points out that faith in Jesus Christ frees them from all of that, and he tries to get them to instead live the precepts of the Gospel.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus has been driving out demons from those who had been possessed by them. But the crowd is not accepting his miracles in faith, rather they assert that only a devil could cast out a demon. Just like the Galatians, they refused to put their faith into practice and instead insisted on clinging to what they know.
Jesus, however, is doing a new thing. He’s doing a new thing among the people of his day, he was doing a new thing among the Galatians, and he’s doing a new thing in us. We have to be ready to let go of some of our pre-conceived notions and renew ourselves in the Gospel. During this year of faith, let us make it our prayer that all God’s people come to know the faith in new and proper ways.