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Tuesday, April 11, 2000

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St. Stanislaus

Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 102
John 8:21-30

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jesus, the only hope for the dead

"When you lift up the Son of Man, you will come to realize that I AM." —John 8:28

Pope John Paul II has demonstrated in his teachings and writings that our Western culture is a "culture of death." He has prophesied that this year is the Great Jubilee of justice and freedom by which the culture of death may be displaced by a civilization of love and life, as Pope Paul VI prophetically intimated twenty-five years ago.

The Israelites after the Exodus were still in a culture of death. The wages of their sins (see Rm 6:23) were the deaths of many people due to snakebite (Nm 21:6). "So Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord" instructed him to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole (Nm 21:7-8). "Whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered" (Nm 21:9).

Jesus promised: "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in Him" (Jn 3:14-15). We too can let the Lord change our culture of death by fixing our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2) and believing in Him.

Our culture of death makes us feel hopeless. But Jesus is our Hope, "and this hope will not leave us disappointed" (Rm 5:5). The victory of life is assured in Jesus. Our eyes are "on the Lord, our God, till He have pity on us" (Ps 123:2).

Prayer:  Father, when someone asks me the reason for my hope, may I always be ready to reply (1 Pt 3:15).

Promise:  "Because He spoke this way, many came to believe in Him." —Jn 8:30

Praise:  St. Stanislaus, bishop of Cracow, Poland, admonished the king of Poland to repent of his adultery. The King responded by murdering Stanislaus as he celebrated Mass. The sacrificial death of Stanislaus bore fruit as his murderer later gave his life to Jesus and became a lay brother in a Benedictine monastery.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 4, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 1999