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For the last three years I have been contributing Patristic commentaries on the Gospel readings of the day for each Sunday. We have now come to the end of that, as I began with the reading for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, which can be found here. I will provide a link for each Sunday for those interested in what the Church Fathers had to say about the Gospel readings. I will now move on to offer a Patristic commentary on the second reading, beginning today with:

Galatians 3:26-29

Marius Victorinus, in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, tells us that the metaphor of inheritance refers to our receiving eternal life. This comes about through faith in Jesus Christ – that means when we believe that he is the Son of God and the chosen Messiah, and that he has the power to save us and has accomplished every mystery on our behalf. All these things are reported in the Gospel. But what we should note here is that, while Paul is stating this fact, he refers it to their persons, offering incentives to persuade them more readily. We are now sons from faith in Christ Jesus. This illustrates the perfection of believers, for what is more perfect than to be called sons of God?

Chrysostom asks and answers the question of how we are made sons of God. Christ is the Son of God, and if we put on Christ, having the Son inside us and being made like unto him, then we have been made sons by being baptised in Christ.

Cyprian comments that one who, having laid bare his sins, has been sanctified by baptism and spiritually transformed into a new man has been made ready to receive the Holy Spirit.

St Jerome makes an analogy with metal smelting, noting that when we glow with the ardour of the Holy Spirit, we are all alike, and it does not matter what metal we were originally made of.

Chrysostom notes how insatiable St Paul’s soul is. Having said we become sons of God through faith, he does not stop there, but seeks out something more to say, which can make still more plain ur closer unity with Christ. Having said “You have put Him on”, he is not content with this, but interpreting it he speaks of something more intimate than this association and says, “You are all one in Christ” – that is you have one form, one character, that of Christ. What words could inspire more awe than these? The former Jew or slave is clothed in the form not of an angel or archangel but of the Lord himself and in himself displays Christ.

St Jerome says that whenever the Lord is called Abraham’s offspring, this must be understood in the bodily sense of of his generation from the stock of Abraham. But when it is applied to us who, receiving the Saviour’s word, believe in him, and assume the dignity of Abraham’s race, to whom the covenant was made. We are the inheritors of that promise.