Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders. So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the believers.
When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses.” The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Is circumcision necessary for salvation or not? What is necessary; what is really important? Don’t we ask ourselves such questions every day?
I am very fortunate to have been the father of the bride three times so far. Each time I have been instructed in no uncertain terms by both the bride and her mother, my wife: try to make them laugh, try to make them cry, but above all keep it short, or else!
Here is the important part of what I have said. “There will be many times in your lives together when it is not clear what should be done or what should be said or what is important. When you are uncertain about what to say or do, answer this simple question, “What does love require?” When you answer that question honestly, you will choose what is truly best, what is truly from God. Also remember a short phrase spoken by Mother Teresa, “There is no such thing as a small act of love.” All acts of love are large acts of an open heart, and they ripple out to the rest of the world and to every person God puts in your life!
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.
Love divine, all love excelling, joy of heav’n, to earth come down!
Fix in us your humble dwelling, all your faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, source of all compassion, love unbounded, love all pure:
Visit us with your salvation, let your love in us endure.
—hymn text by Charles Wesley (1707-1788)