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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

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St. John of the Cross


Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13
Psalm 34
Matthew 21:28-32

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a blessed life

"I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came preaching a way of holiness, you put no faith in him; but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did believe in him." —Matthew 21:31-32

Why do you think tax collectors and sinners are entering the kingdom of God before wealthy, politically correct families who live in the upscale suburbs? Could it be that many of those well-to-do families are rebellious toward God? God warns through the prophet Zephaniah: "Woe to the city, rebellious and  polluted...she hears no voice, accepts no correction; in the Lord she has not trusted, to her God she has not drawn near" (Zep 3:1, 2).

The folks that seem to have everything going for them just might think it all came from their own effort, of their own power, that they "have arrived." If so, they have forgotten God. "When filled, they became proud of heart and forgot" God (Hos 13:6).

On the other hand, the people who have the crummy jobs that no one else wants, those who are unemployed or underemployed, may perhaps, through God's merciful love, be sharing in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in a most painful way.  Those people with the biggest crosses are the truly blessed among us.  They are blessed because they know that they can't carry that cross alone — they must rely on the power of God to carry on. 

Remember the power of God, and your hope in the Lord will never disappear from your heart (see Jdt 13:19).

Prayer:    Father, give me the grace to carry my cross, cooperating fully inside of Your merciful love.

Promise:  "I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord." —Zep 3:12

Praise:    St. John of the Cross had one main message: don't run from the cross — if you really want to live.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004


Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004