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Thursday, January 13, 2000

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St. Hilary

1 Samuel 4:1-11
Psalm 44
Mark 1:40-45

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is the joke on you?

"Why do You hide Your face, forgetting our woe and our oppression?" —Psalm 44:25

The Israelites, God's chosen people, refused to repent of sin. So four thousand Israelites were killed in battle, as they were defeated by the Philistines (1 Sm 4:2). "The wages of sin is death" (Rm 6:23). Then the Israelites decided not to repent but rather to bring forth the ark of the covenant to lead them into another battle. "Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured" (1 Sm 4:10-11). God's chosen people were made "the mockery and the scorn" of their enemies (Ps 44:14). They were "a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples" (Ps 44:15).

God's people today have suffered many defeats in this culture of death. The wages of a culture of sin has come to be a culture of death. Occasionally we try to get out of this mess by trying to manipulate God through prayer and other religious activities. However, this has only led and will only lead to even more devastating defeats. We must repent. Christians are a joke to much of the world. We are often salt that has lost its flavor and "is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot" (Mt 5:13). Unrepentant, lukewarm Christians are the most nauseating (see Rv 3:16), pitiful creatures in the world. They are in the worst condition possible for a human being (2 Pt 2:20-22).

Repent! Stop mocking God (Gal 6:7). Stop being mocked for sin, defeats, and hypocrisy. Repent!

Prayer:  Father, in this Great Jubilee, make me a force to be reckoned with.

Promise:  "Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out His hand, touched him, and said: 'I do will it. Be cured.' The leprosy left him then and there, and he was cured." —Mk 1:41-42

Praise:  St. Hilary wrote, "We do comprehend divine ideas...by obedience to the faith which carries us beyond mere human apprehension."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 21, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1999