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Thursday, January 24, 2002

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St. Francis de Sales

1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7
Psalm 56
Mark 3:7-12

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cross purposes

"Unclean spirits would catch sight of Him, fling themselves down at His feet, and shout, 'You are the Son of God!', while He kept ordering them sternly not to reveal Who He was." —Mark 3:11-12

Devils tried to turn their defeat into a victory. Instead of hiding the fact that Jesus had thrown them out, they shouted: "You are the Son of God!" The devils wanted to give the impression that Jesus as the Messiah would have a life of nothing but obvious and glorious victories. Thus, when Jesus was later crucified and apparently defeated, people would be tempted to deny that He had been the Messiah.

Jesus ordered "them sternly not to reveal Who He was" (Mk 3:12). Jesus wanted to be recognized as the Suffering Servant (see Is 52:13ff) and only secondarily as a Miracle-Worker and Deliverer so that His death on the cross would not be a stumbling block to us (1 Cor 1:23), but the greatest revelation of His love.

The cross is the center of life. Devils are trying to use it to manipulate us through fear and confusion into denying Christ. The Lord is proclaiming the cross in order to crucify us to the world (Gal 6:14) and lead us to salvation.

At the foot of the cross, Jesus is either loved or hated. With Mary, will you love Him? Will you be the good thief who repents and accepts Jesus' kingship? (Lk 23:42) Or will you be the bad thief who uses his last breath to blaspheme Jesus and thereby go to hell? At the cross, love Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, may I "know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2, our transl).

Promise:  "In God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?" —Ps 56:5, 12

Praise:  St. Francis advocated living the devout life in the secular world.

Reference:  (You may wish to order our book, Scriptural Stations of the Cross.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, May 30, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2001