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Friday, March 24, 2006

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Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81
Mark 12:28-34

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now and never

"Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." —Mark 12:29-30

The Lord is saying things to us today He's said at least a hundred times. He says: "Return to Me" (see Hos 14:2), and "love Me with all your heart" (see Mk 12:30). It's difficult for us to respond to these words. They're familiar enough to be forgotten. But this Lent, after these days of prayer and fasting, maybe we'll hear God for the first time in a long time. Maybe we'll let Him love us freely and heal our defection (Hos 14:5). Maybe we'll obey the first and the greatest commandment after all these years of "playing church" and playing games with a crucified Savior (see Mk 12:28).

The Lord is waiting for us to come down off the throne and let Him be the King and Lord of our lives. Sure, we've gone to church, prayed, and even obeyed some of the commandments, but Jesus died on the cross for more than that. He wants our lives, our all. He wants us. Yes, sooner or later God will break through in our lives. May it be sooner, this Lent, even now.

Prayer:  "Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All" (see Jn 20:28).

Promise:  "Jesus approved the insight of this answer and told him, 'You are not far from the reign of God.' " —Mk 12:34

Praise:  Substituting prayer time for lunch time during Lent has changed not only John but his co-workers too.

Reference:  (Presentation Ministries' Discipleship Center offers a ten-day series of retreats on Resurrection Victory in the Word featuring various books in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, March 31-April 8, 2006. The Women's Retreat is April 15, 2006. For information or to register, call 937-205-0128, or e-mail retreats@presentationministries.com)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 2005

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