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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

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Pentecost Novena - Day 5
Bl. Damien of Molokai

Acts 20:17-27
Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21
John 17:1-11

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a finish that shines

"I put no value on my life if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus." —Acts 20:24

Jesus focused on finishing. In today's Gospel, He tells His Father: "I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do" (Jn 17:4). When Jesus faithfully completed His suffering on the cross, He took the occasion, despite His pain, to exclaim: "Now it is finished" (Jn 19:30). Finishing what He started was important to Jesus.

St. Paul also focused on finishing, saying: "I give no thought to what lies behind but push on to what is ahead. My entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize to which God calls me — life on high in Christ Jesus. All of us who are spiritually mature must have this attitude" (Phil 3:13-15). Near the end of his life, Paul exclaimed: "I have finished the race" (2 Tm 4:7). Finishing what He started was important to Paul (Acts 20:24).

Starting to serve the Lord but not finishing tarnishes the image of both God and us. Jesus says: "If one of you decides to build a tower, will he not first sit down and calculate the outlay to see if he has enough money to complete the project? He will do that for fear of laying the foundation and then not being able to complete the work; for all who saw it would jeer at him, saying, 'That man began to build what he could not finish' " (Lk 14:28-30).

The Pentecost novena is half-finished. Let's pray intensely, finish strongly, and joyfully receive the Spirit on Pentecost.

Prayer:  Father, bring Your work in me to completion (Phil 1:6).

Promise:  "Blessed day by day be the Lord, Who bears our burdens; God, Who is our Salvation." —Ps 68:20

Praise:  Bl. Damien spent his life ministering Jesus to a colony of lepers on the island of Molokai. In love, he so identified with them that he contracted leprosy himself, sharing their lot and dying with them.

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

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2004

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