I went to mass on Tuesday, in the evening, in a small chapel with an even smaller congregation. At the beginning of mass there were only three of us. The priest looked at the other two and then at me and offered an apologetic, “I think this is going to be in Spanish tonight.”
I smiled and shrugged.
Mass is mass, the particular language doesn’t faze me anymore.
At the reading, I pulled out my phone, googled the USCCB daily readings page, read along with the lector. (My Spanish is bad enough that I can’t understand everything…but good enough that I can pick up words and phrases and pace myself accordingly.)
Here’s something about the New Testament that catches my attention: there is a bunch of talk about circumcision vs uncircumcision. Like, a lot.
Now, I’m no Bible scholar, but I guess this means the whole debate was pretty gigantic at the time. And everyone was in a massive kerfuffle over the matter, since it’s mentioned again and again.
Whenever we hit verses like that at mass, I think about all the issues that we bicker about in churches today—this thing, that thing, this thing, that thing.
And I remember that, if the Lord sees it fitting not to return for another 2,000 years, in that amount of time the church will probably be frustrated over slightly different issues, too. And whatever is the Internet com-box of 4017 will probably be an ugly place, too. In that way: the things that we think are gigantic and nearly insurmountable today aren’t actually all that intense, in the grand spectrum of life and faith.
This verse stuck out at me, as I sat in the chapel, reading along on my cell phone: For in Christ Jesus,
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
but only faith working through love.
Because it seems like you can take out the words and replace them with differing, bickering opinions, and what you have left is: In Christ Jesus, neither ___ nor ___ counts for anything, but only faith working in love.
Fill in those blanks, ya’ll.
(“Democrat” or “republican” means I’m suddenly talking politics, and I have no desire to do so).
ANYWAY: Faith working in love.
Suddenly, we’re stripped of our petty arguments and points and Internet articles promoting OUR PERSPECTIVE GOSH DARN IT.
And suddenly this becomes very intimate and very personal.
Because what does your love look like? And how is your faith working these days?
And I’ve been thinking about that since Tuesday.
MY BROTHER P