“You are all one in Christ Jesus”

The following is the monthly Bible meditation from Taizé. This meditation covers St Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 3:27-28:

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

After the meditation, we are asked why we need enemies and what can free us from that need. I think that we do need to face these questions. Here, then, is the meditation in full:

In order to have points of reference, to find their place, to be reassured, human beings organize the world into categories; they classify and define. Some find their identity in opposition to others. For Christians, that world has come to an end in Christ. “There is no longer ‘Jew or Greek,’ ‘slave or free’….” We would err if we thought that Paul was simply speaking about a change in the way of seeing the world, a different viewpoint by which we free ourselves from prejudices and open up to reality to a greater extent. Some philosophers aspired to such breadth of vision. But Paul is talking about something else. Not a new point of view, but a new reality: “you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As a result of this, personal identity and the world must be rethought, not in opposition to others but with this unity as a starting-point.

In his letter to the Galatians, what interests Paul above all is the end of the opposition between Jews and non-Jews (Greeks). Losing this basic reference-point, a religious one, can be a wrenching experience. Paul will go so far as to say that the world (the old world, defined by oppositions) has been crucified for him (6:14); it no longer exists. A new world has come into being with Christ, a new creation (6:15).

The new unity that characterizes this new creation is inseparably bound up with the person of Christ. By baptism we have become members of his Body and therefore united to all the other members of that Body. If Paul can even say “there is no longer ‘male and female’,” which clearly refers to the creation story in Genesis (1:27), that is because the response to human aloneness is no longer a community of two persons, but that vast community which is being built up in Christ.

From faith in the resurrection, a life of communion springs up. The baptized discover their identity henceforth in that communion. Risen with Christ, they no longer need opponents in order to exist or to define themselves.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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