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Friday, March 22, 2002

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Jeremiah 20:10-13
Psalm 18:2-7
John 10:31-42

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loving stoners

"I hear the whisperings of many: 'Terror on every side! Denounce! Let us denounce him!' " —Jeremiah 20:10

Yesterday we read that when Jesus claimed to be I AM, that is, God, some of those hearing Him "picked up rocks to throw" at Jesus (Jn 8:59). Today's Gospel reading begins: "When some of the Jews again reached for rocks to stone Him, Jesus protested" (Jn 10:31). On at least two occasions, several people picked up rocks for the purpose of giving Jesus multiple concussions so that He would die a brutal, painful death.

Soon after these attempts on His life, Jesus died a brutal, painful death — not by stoning but by crucifixion. He died in forgiveness and in love for those who wanted to stone and kill Him. He died for the salvation of His enemies. He died for each of us.

The cross is not only a message of love but of forgiveness. The cross is not only the perfect expression of love for people in general, but especially of love for enemies. Therefore, "the message of the cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation, it is the power of God" (1 Cor 1:18).

Will you be Jesus' disciple and take up the cross (Lk 9:23) of loving those who hurt and hate you? By Jesus' grace, you can do the impossible by loving unconditionally and thereby breaking the destructive cycle of unforgiveness. Only forgiving, crucified love for enemies changes the world. Be crucified with Jesus (Gal 2:19) for love of your enemies.

Prayer:  Father, today may I love the most unlovable person in my life.

Promise:  "In that place, many came to believe in Him." —Jn 10:42

Praise:  Even though severely rebuked in front of others by another Christian, Anna accepted the grace of total forgiveness and treated that person with even greater kindness.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001