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Wednesday, May 26, 1999

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St. Philip Neri

Sirach 36:1, 5-6, 10-17
Psalm 79
Mark 10:32-45

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"Can you drink the cup I shall drink or be baptized in the same bath of pain as I?" —Mark 10:38

The first time Jesus brought up the subject of the cross, He was reprimanded by Peter (Mk 8:32). In response, Jesus reprimanded Peter: "Get out of My sight, you satan! You are not judging by God's standards but by man's!" (Mk 8:33)

After Jesus' Transfiguration, He thought He had a better chance to communicate with the apostles about the cross. However, "they failed to understand His words" and "were afraid to question Him" (Mk 9:32).

For the third time, Jesus said: "The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn Him to death and hand Him over to the Gentiles, who will mock Him and spit at Him, flog Him, and finally kill Him. But three days later He will rise" (Mk 10:33-34). Once again, the apostles missed the point. James and John were busy positioning themselves for a promotion (Mk 10:37), and the other apostles were upset with James and John.

Have things changed much? Is the cross still "rendered void of its meaning"? (1 Cor 1:17) Have we ever heard the message of the cross, or do we merely make the sign of the cross and use the cross for ornamentation? A tell-tale sign of hearing the message of the cross is our attitude towards other people. If we come to serve them rather than to be served by them (Mk 10:45), we have probably taken to heart the message of the cross. If we serve even to the point of laying down our lives for each other (see 1 Jn 3:16), we have heard the message of crucified love.

Jesus continues to talk about the cross. "Let him who has ears to hear Me, hear!" (Mk 4:9)

Prayer:  Father, "may I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!"  (Gal 6:14)

Promise:  "Let Your prophets be proved true." —Sir 36:15

Praise:  St. Philip, a man of good humor, evangelized the young people of Rome with great success. They responded to his many creative presentations of the gospel.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, October 9, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 17, 1998