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Wednesday, August 26, 1998

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2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18
Psalm 128
Matthew 23:27-32

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no sacrifice too great

"We worked day and night, laboring to the point of exhaustion so as not to impose on any of you." —2 Thessalonians 3:8

Paul did not get paid for forming and leading the first Christian communities. Paul also gave up the opportunity of having a wife and family so that he could give undivided attention to the Lord and to serving God's people (1 Cor 7:7; 9:5ff; see also 1 Cor 7:33-35). For love of Jesus, Paul endured labors, imprisonments, beatings, frequent brushes with death, eight scourgings, etc. (2 Cor 11:23ff) Paul joyfully forfeited everything so that Christ would be His Wealth (Phil 3:8). Finally, Paul was martyred in imitation of Jesus crucified. Paul proclaimed: "I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal 2:19-20). Paul could truly say: " 'Life' means Christ" (Phil 1:21). In love, Paul offered his life to God as a "living sacrifice" (see Rm 12:1-2).

Why are you a Christian? To stay out of hell? To go to heaven? Because you were brought up Christian? To do good? There is nothing wrong with these reasons, but the main reason for being a Christian is love. "The love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor 5:14). "He died for all so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for Him Who for their sakes died and was raised up" (2 Cor 5:15). Live, sacrifice, suffer, rejoice, die, and rise for love of Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, in love I offer my life to You as a living sacrifice (see Rm 12:1).

Promise:  "Happy are you who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways!" —Ps 128:1

Praise:  Phil distributed 500 copies of each issue of One Bread, One Body and maintained a Bible Teaching telephone line. He died suddenly at the age of thirty-seven. After his death, the ministries he loved were expanded within his diocese.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, February 17, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 25, 1998