Nov 5 2020 Reflection
Thursday 5 November 2020
First Reading: PHIL 3:3-8A
Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
PS 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel Reading: LK 15:1-10
Today’s Note: Thursday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.
“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”
We are the circumcision. (Philippians 3:3)
For many devout first-century Jews who had converted to Christianity, St. Paul’s teaching that baptized believers did not need to be ritually circumcised verged on blasphemy. Circumcision was one of God’s commandments, a visible sign of his covenant relationship with Israel. Circumcision was considered the entryway into their Jewish faith.
So it was a dramatic change when the Council of Jerusalem in AD 50 affirmed the apostles’ conviction that Baptism, rather than circumcision, was the true way into the kingdom of God. It was the way to set yourself apart as belonging to Jesus.
Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John can help us understand this crucial point. Speaking to Nicodemus, a respected member of the Sanhedrin, Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (John 3:5). John then elaborated by announcing that God had sent his Son into the world, “that everyone who believes in him . . . might have eternal life” (3:16).
Baptism, the Spirit, and faith in Christ: these are the key ingredients for entry into the Christian life. Not only that, but God wants these three ingredients to permeate our lives every day.
Baptism. Every day, affirm the truth that you have been washed clean of original sin and made into a new creation.
The Spirit. Every day, ask the Holy Spirit to keep softening your heart toward God so that you can learn how to hear his voice and follow his guidance.
Faith. Every day, throughout the day, keep believing that you are a child of God, unconditionally loved and deeply treasured.
Even if your spiritual life feels stale sometimes, keep up these practices. They aren’t just a matter of positive thinking. They are truths that can help you stay focused on the Lord and strengthen you in times of temptation. Paul says that you are “the circumcision” (Philippians 3:3). You are a visible sign of God’s love and mercy for everyone when you embrace these blessings and let them affect your everyday life.
“Jesus, my faith is in you. Help me to live out my baptism every day.”