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Saturday, December 15, 2007

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Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
Psalm 80
Matthew 17:9, 10-13

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prophecy and heartburn

"Like a fire there appeared the prophet whose words were as a flaming furnace." —Sirach 48:1

This Advent, the Lord sends John the Baptizer, "in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Lk 1:17) to "restore everything" through his prophetic ministry (Mt 17:11). God uses John's prophetic lifestyle and words "as a flaming furnace" (Sir 48:1) and a "spiritual Brillo pad" to scrub off our hard-coated sins (see Heb 12:1), burn away our impurities in the Refiner's fire (Mal 3:2-3), and wash us as white as snow (Is 1:18).

Once you are restored, God sends you the Holy Spirit to gift you, so that you can enter into John's prophetic ministry. "Receive the Holy Spirit," the only true Christmas Spirit (Jn 20:22). Drastically simplify your lifestyle. Empty your mind of all that clutters it and fill your mind with God's word. Your prophetic words and lifestyle will give people "heart-burn" — making hearts burn with desire to give their lives to Jesus (see Lk 24:32), or causing their stomachs to turn sour (see Rv 10:9-10).

Let Jesus the Prophet (Lk 7:16) teach you "what to say and how to speak" (Jn 12:49), so that no word of yours will be without effect (1 Sm 3:19). May your prophetic words ignite a fire on the earth (Lk 12:49), "turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons" (Sir 48:10), and restore many thousands of ruined lives (Is 58:12). It's cold outside, and the love of many is growing cold (Mt 24:12). Set the world on fire for Jesus.

Prayer:  "Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening" (1 Sm 3:9).

Promise:  "Then we will no more withdraw from You; give us new life, and we will call upon Your name." —Ps 80:19

Praise:  Knowing God is rich in mercy helps Michael to confess all his sins, especially the ones he is tempted to omit.

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

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 30, 2007

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