Circumcision is of no avail, but faith working through love.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians (Galatians 5:1-6)
Brethren: For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 119:18.104.22.168.47.48 (R. 41a)
R/. Lord, let your mercy come upon me.
Lord, let your mercy come upon me,
the salvation you have promised. R.
Never take the word of truth from my mouth,
for I hope in your decrees. R.
I shall always keep your law,
forever and ever. R.
I shall walk on a spacious plain,
for I seek your precepts. R.
In your commands I have found my delight;
these I have loved. R.
I reach out to your commands, which I love,
and ponder your statutes. R.
ALLELUIA Hebrews 4: 12
Alleluia. The word of the Lord is living and active, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Alleluia.
“Give alms; and behold, everything is clean for you.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 11 :37-41)
At that time: While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him; so he went in and sat at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. Truly love is the hallmark of Christianity and anything done outside love as a true guide becomes an obstacle to good Christian living. The seat of love is the human heart, and once this is guided properly, our actions become pure and good. Could this be the reason why the Pharisees never got it right? Probably the concern for external observances blinded their heart from loving. Are we not carried away sometimes by the desire to be on target with external observances, when in our hearts we truly do not love. Offering the kiss of peace could be a ritual at mass, yet our heart may be far from the one whom we offer a kiss of peace. Let love rule and our actions whether rituals or not be genuine.