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Monday, January 7, 2008

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St. Raymond of Penyafort

1 John 3:22—4:6
Psalm 2
Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

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"the life of the party"

"A people living in darkness has seen a great light. On those who inhabit a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen." —Matthew 4:16

Today most Christians celebrate the feast of Epiphany, the climax of the Christmas season. Although most of the USA celebrated Epiphany yesterday, we can in our hearts continue celebrating Epiphany today. Repentance is a prerequisite for a great celebration in the Lord. There is "more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent" (Lk 15:7). When the prodigal son repented, he was showered with gifts (Lk 15:22). His father killed the fatted calf and had the greatest celebration of the year (Lk 15:23). If we reform our lives (see Mt 4:17), we too can be "the life of the party."

Because the Lord gives us so many presents and loves us so affectionately, we can forget that the Christmas/Epiphany celebration is not focused on us but on Jesus. After all, we're celebrating His birthday. Only when we lose our lives (Lk 9:24), deny our very selves (Lk 9:23), humble ourselves (Mt 23:12), and give our lives to Him do we live the abundant life (see Jn 10:10). Only when we celebrate Jesus do we really celebrate. To fully share in the celebration of Epiphany and of life, we must repent of our sins and give our lives to Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, give me the joy that the world cannot take away (Jn 16:22).

Promise:  "We are keeping His commandments and doing what is pleasing in His sight." —1 Jn 3:22

Praise:  St. Raymond, along with St. Thomas Aquinas, wrote a booklet to explain the truths of the faith in a way nonbelievers could readily comprehend.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Reconciliation on audio AV 1A-1 or video V-1A.)

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

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