Galatians 5:1-6;Psalm 119:41, 43-45, 47-48; Luke 11:37-41
Saint Callistus I, Pope and Martyr
For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6)
After a televised sports game, detailed analyses are often made by experts in the studio. They seem to enjoy pointing out mistakes each player has made—something easy to do when you’re sitting in an air-conditioned room watching video replays! But in the heat of the moment down there on the field, the best players are the ones who make quick, confident decisions without considering what the critics might say afterward.
Do you ever worry that one day God will show you a long, slow-motion video replay of your life, pointing out where you have sinned—both in what you did and in what you failed to do? That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? But Paul gives some helpful advice to any of us who may be distracted by worries like this. All that matters to God, he says, is faith working through love.
In Paul’s day, many Gentile believers were puzzling over whether and to what extent they should adopt Jewish observances. After all, Jesus was a devout Jew, as were Paul and all the other apostles. But Paul saw that many believers had let their concerns about Jewish law eclipse the whole purpose of the Law and the purpose of Jesus’ cross and resurrection: loving God wholeheartedly and sharing that love with the people around us. For Paul, the real question is whether our faith is moving us to acts of love, not whether we are being strict enough in our observances.
When the same questions arise in you—“Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough?”— remember that Jesus has already set you free; you don’t earn freedom by being especially scrupulous or hardworking. All you need is to exercise whatever degree of faith you already have and see where that takes you.
So how is your faith going to “work through love” today? Will you spend extra time reading Scripture? Excellent! Make it a point to get to Confession? Brilliant! Or will you just make an extra effort to be loving as you do the work you already have planned? Great! Wherever and however you feel the Spirit leading you to love, go for it, joyfully and freely!
“Lord, thank you for the gift of faith; let it always propel me into a life of love!”~WAU