Sunday, August 11, 2013

Circumcise Your Hearts

Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.  For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods, the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes; who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.  So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.  Deuteronomy 10:16-19

But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up.  Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.  Give that to them for me and for you.”  Matthew 7:27


Tend the tiny seeds in the garden of your life today if you want flowers to bloom in the springtime of tomorrow. (By St. Therese of Lisieux in The Little Way)

The theme of change gets a double underline today.  Moses is not just resorting the words which would be used by Jesus and John the Baptist.  He could have just said, “Repent.”  But no.  Moses has to be even more explicit about the need for us to change.  “Circumcise your heart.”  Cut out of your heart anything which keeps you from respecting the awesome power of God, following his ways exactly, and loving and serving Him all our days. 

Jesus steps up his efforts to differentiate between His disciples and the subjects of the belligerent Roman rulers.  To avoid even so much as the appearance of divided loyalty, he tells Simon how to pay the tax as a foreigner so that Simon and Jesus would not be seen as royal subjects of the king. In this way, Simon befriends the alien by becoming like a foreigner. 

At this stage in Matthew’s Good News, I can not imagine Simon Peter not going out to retrieve that coin from the bottom of the stomach of the fish at the bottom of the sea.  That is the coin of freedom.  Just as Jonah was borne anew when he emerged from the belly of the whale, this coin will free Simon from the temple tax so he can fully rely upon God. 


How are you being asked to act according to the ways of God and not the ways of the world? 

“The primary duty of every disciple is to listen to the word of God and to put it into practice,” writes Theodore Cardinal McCarrick in the foreword to “The Sant’ Egidio Book of Prayer.”  He goes on to quote a Russian writer who observed: “Faith without works is dead, and prayer is the first work and principle of every true action; in it we approach God and God works in us.  This is already the principle of a new spiritual life.”  

How is today’s Good News asking you to look at life in a different way?

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