Homily for May 18, 2017
Today’s first reading is the conclusion of the debate that sparked off among the Apostles of the early Church on the issue of circumcision.
Led by the Spirit of God, Peter was able to lead the council to a solution in the matter. His argument was based on the fact that God did not prevent the so-called Gentiles from receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit despite the fact that they were uncircumcised.
If God could be so generous to them making them equal to the Jews by allowing them receive the Holy Spirit, what was then the point discriminating against them simply because they were uncircumcised?
In fact, what has the removal of one’s foreskin got to do with his/her faith in God? Removing one’s foreskin was only a sign; a symbol demarcating God’s chosen people from others.
Just as a sign board is not as important as the venue it points to, physical circumcision was not as important as keeping God’s commandments. No wonder, Moses himself said: “Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer.” Deuteronomy 10:16.
How do we circumcise the foreskins of our hearts? Jesus tells us in the Gospel passage today to create more room for God by loving God over and above everything else. Jesus says to us IF YOU KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, YOU WILL ABIDE IN MY LOVE.
And the joy and happiness that we seek can only be found in keeping God’s commandments. “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that you joy may be full.” John 15:11
Indeed it is only when we are connected to God and keep his commandments that we find joy in life as Christians. Keeping God’s commandments is not so easy because it requires self-discipline and having to let go of many things.
This letting go is a form of circumcision and may appear painful temporarily but this kind of circumcision is what God desires, not physical circumcision. When we keep God’s commandments and live differently from the rest of the world, we live a really joyful life.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my love for you always. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of the 5th Week of Easter. Bible Study: Acts 15:7-21 and John 15:9-11).*