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living and dying in sin?
"You belong to what is below; I belong to what is above. You belong to this world — a world which cannot hold Me. That is why I said you would die in your sins." —John 8:23-24
The worst tragedy in life is not only to sin but to die in our sins (Jn 8:21). Jesus warns that we will "surely die" in our sins unless we believe that He is God (Jn 8:24). Because Jesus is God, He, by His death on the cross, has the power to free us from our sins. Because Jesus is God, Jesus has the authority to forgive our sins (see Mk 2:7, 10). Because Jesus is God, we must confess our sins to Him and forgive others, as He has told us (Mt 6:12). We must believe that Jesus is God, the great I AM, or we are doomed to die in our sins.
We believe Jesus is God because He was lifted up on the cross, in His Resurrection, and at His Ascension to the right hand of the Father (see Jn 8:28). Jesus promised: "And I — once I am lifted up from earth — will draw all men to Myself" (Jn 12:32). On Palm Sunday, throughout Holy Week, at the Chrism Mass, at the Mass of the Last Supper, and on Good Friday, see Jesus lifted up. Let Him draw you to Himself. May your faith be strengthened so that you will make the greatest and total act of faith on Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday. Believe in Jesus' divinity with all your heart. Then you will not die — or live — in your sins.
Prayer: Father, graciously hear the prayer of Mary "now and at the hour" of my death.
Promise: "Whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered." —Nm 21:9
Praise: Touched by the glory of the resurrected Jesus on Easter, Ruth began to regularly receive the sacraments again.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order Fr. Lauer's tape on Effects of Sin on audio AV 81-3 or video V-81.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 9, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2000