(Optional) Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima
(Act 15:1-6; John 15:1-8)
The Hebrew custom of circumcision identifies Jewish men. Of course, it is not intended to be a sign readily visible. It seems more a verifiable trait that all Jewish men share. The Jewish Christians who preach circumcision in today’s first reading think it essential for Christians as well. After all, if Christ came to establish a new Israel—they probably reason -- there must be continuity with the old.
But Paul and others see a richer sign of continuity in active love. Jesus has brought the Mosaic doctrine of caring for others to perfection. When he speaks of pruning the vine in today’s gospel, he means expelling those who do not love as they ought. Without them the loving works of faithful Christians will not be obscured. The world can then easily see the Church bearing much fruit.
Today many Catholics celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Fatima. In her apparitions to three peasant children she encouraged the praying of the rosary. For sure, prayer on behalf of others is a work of love. Let us join such pious acts with deeds of kindness and generosity. In this way the world will again see the Church bearing much fruit.