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Saturday, September 28, 2002

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St. Wenceslaus
St. Lawrence Ruiz

Ecclesiastes 11:9—12:8
Psalm 90
Luke 9:43-45

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looking death in the face

"You make an end of them." —Psalm 90:5

Many people in our culture of death are in denial of death. They may act as if they were young. This is sometimes called a "mid-life crisis." Through an unhealthy emphasis on nostalgia, they may pretend to live in their youthful past. By moving to milder climates and being very health-conscious, they may try to postpone death. Sometimes these are subtle ways of being in denial of death. When they are, they backfire. Through our fear of death, Satan, the prince of death, makes us his slaves (Heb 2:14-15).

The Lord through the Scriptures challenges our denial of death and gives us the opportunity to be free. The Lord not only tells us we are getting older and closer to death; He also graphically expresses the details of our "passing away" (see Eccl 12:3-7). Jesus repeatedly insists that we follow in His footsteps and take up our cross (see Lk 9:23). Of course, the cross is for no other purpose than to put someone to death.

However, the Lord not only speaks of death but proclaims that He is "the Resurrection and the Life" (Jn 11:25) Who will raise His disciples from the dead. Therefore, "death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54-55)

Don't fear death; face death. Give your life and death to Jesus; rise from the dead.

Prayer:  Father, "teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart" (Ps 90:12).

Promise:  "Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on Your servants!" —Ps 90:13

Praise:  St. Lawrence Ruiz, a Filipino layman, was martyred in Nagasaki, Japan in 1637. He witnessed to his executioners: "I am a Christian. I shall die for God, and for Him I would give many thousands of lives. So do with me what you please."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002