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Sunday, July 3, 2005

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14th Sunday Ordinary Time

Zechariah 9:9-10
Romans 8:9, 11-13
Psalm 145
Matthew 11:25-30

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fleshing it out

"If you live according to the flesh, you will die." —Romans 8:13

The three traditional enemies of the Christian are the world, the flesh, and the devil. The flesh is our fallen human nature. We live either in the flesh or in the Spirit. "The tendency of the flesh is toward death but that of the Spirit toward life and peace. The flesh in its tendency is at enmity with God; it is not subject to God's law. Indeed, it cannot be; those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh" (Rm 8:6-9).

Because those in the flesh cannot please the Lord and are on the way to damnation, we must by the Spirit put the flesh to death (see Rm 8:13). "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24). We crucify our flesh by being baptized into Jesus and into His death, burial, and resurrection (Rm 6:3ff).

Therefore, we have victory over our flesh by faithfully living our Baptisms day by day and hour by hour. Frequently, we face the decision to live in the flesh by gossiping or to live in the Spirit by godly conversation. We can wallow in the flesh by being a "couch potato," or we can live in the Spirit by using our time to pray, evangelize, and serve. We can live in the flesh by maximizing our pleasures and conveniences, or we can by the Spirit seek to give maximum love, commitment, and sacrifice.

Are you, at this point, on the way to heaven or hell? Check your decisions. Are you choosing the flesh or the Spirit?

Prayer:  Father, may I live the radical newness of my Baptism much more than ever before.

Promise:  "Come to Me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you." —Mt 11:28

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, the only Way to the Father (Jn 14:6) and the One Who baptizes us in the Spirit! (Mk 1:8)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 20, 2004

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