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Thursday, December 11, 2008

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Pope St. Damasus

Isaiah 41:13-20
Psalm 145
Matthew 11:11-15

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"mary" christmas

"I solemnly assure you, history has not known a man born of woman greater than John the Baptizer. Yet the least born into the kingdom of God is greater than he." —Matthew 11:11

In today's reading from Isaiah, God calls us a "worm" and a "maggot" (Is 41:14). On Tuesday, He said we were like "grass" (Is 40:6). This was not a compliment; it means we're nothing. In today's Gospel, the Lord says we Christians are greater than John the Baptizer, who was as great a person as had ever lived up to that time (Mt 11:11). The Lord also calls us holy, royal, priestly, and precious (1 Pt 2:9). We are even God's children, temples of the Spirit, and "sharers of the divine nature" (2 Pt 1:4).

Of ourselves, we are nothing. In Jesus, we are greater than great and "more than conquerors" (Rm 8:37). In Jesus, we can even do greater by far than He did (Jn 14:12). For example, of herself Mary was an unwed, pregnant, teenage girl from a nowhere-town called Nazareth. She was a member of an oppressed people, the Jews. In Jesus, however, Mary is blessed among women (Lk 1:28), immaculately conceived, spouse of the Spirit, mother of God, mother of the Church, and queen of heaven and earth. In Jesus, Mary did even greater things than her Son did (Jn 14:12) when she appeared near Mexico City in 1531. The Lord used her to lead eight million people to Him in seven years to bring down the strongholds of the evil one (2 Cor 10:4), and to convert many more millions even to the present day.

Prayer:  Father, may everything I know about Mary lead me to new revelations about Jesus.

Promise:  "Fear not, I will help you." —Is 41:13

Praise:  Pope St. Damasus, in Jesus, was empowered to fight heretics, commissioned St. Jerome to produce the Vulgate, and honored Roman martyrs by housing their relics.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2008

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