31st Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Paul speaks of belonging to the People of God, old and new, through the concept of circumcision. By describing Christians as “the circumcision” he reminds us that we all inherit the promises that the Lord first made to Abraham and continued to keep throughout salvation history, culminating in the Incarnation of God the Son for our redemption, through faith in Christ.

When Paul speaks of “confidence in the flesh” he is referring to counting on Jewish ancestry and observance alone for salvation. Christians who have neither, along with those who have had it, worship in the Spirit of God and put their confidence in Our Lord for salvation. Paul reminds us that he had both, but the latter, knowing Jesus Christ, made the former pale in comparison.

Many of us don’t have any Jewish ancestry to be concerned about, but we can see a concerning trend in society to de-Christianize things, leaving us with social or cultural support in staying connected to the promises the Lord has kept throughout salvation history or to Christ himself. Just as Paul described Christians as “the circumcision,” alluding to this practice of admission into the People of Israel, we have to remember that we are the baptized, and that means not only gifts from above, but responsibilities. Let’s ask Our Lord to help us live up to what he has given us as baptized Christians, counting everything else as loss.

Readings: Philippians 3:3–8a; Psalm 105:2–7; Luke 15:1–10. See also 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cycle C, 4th Sunday of Lent, Cycle C, 2nd Week of Lent, Saturday, and 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday.