We will take a look at our second reading, that is a paragraph from Paul’s “Letter to the Galatians.” The Galatians, a Celtic people, were the same as the Irish, except that, three centuries earlier, instead of going to Ireland, they had settled in Turkey.
Twenty years before writing this letter, Paul had stayed in Galatia long enough for him to have brought a large group of them to be baptized together. He wrote “You who were baptized into Christ.”
In that first century, the Sacrament of Baptism was only conferred on the evening before Easter. The would-be-converts and the old Christians saw their baptism pool as one with the tomb of Jesus, and when they stepped down into it, they were dying to sin with Christ, and they were becoming one with him. They were clothed with him.
What prompted Paul to write this letter to the Galatians was that there was a band of new Christians who insisted that Christians had to practice all the rituals of the Jews. The men needed to be circumcised, and all new Christians had to eat only Kosher food. This band of “Judaizers,” were following Paul, insisting that his Christian converts also become Jewish.
In reference to every new Christian having “put on Christ,” Paul said that now “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female, for all one in Christ Jesus.”
One time when I was writing a play for Eighth Graders, I took note of how the Galatians no longer made any distinction between male and female. I had a girl, who after she had been taught to read and write, was captured and enslaved. She sang, “Christians in Galatia taught me to write, but I was made a slave by thugs who turned my days to night.”