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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

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1 Kings 21:17-29
Psalm 51
Matthew 5:43-48

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mercy on the merciless

"Indeed, no one gave himself up to the doing of evil in the sight of the Lord as did Ahab, urged on by his wife Jezebel." —1 Kings 21:25

Ahab held the world record for sin, and he and his wife, Jezebel, held the world record in doubles for sin. "He became completely abominable" (1 Kgs 21:26). However, when Ahab heard Elijah's prophetic words, "he fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued. Then the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, 'Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me?' " (1 Kgs 21:27-29) The Lord didn't bring up Ahab's years of sin, but Ahab's moment of repentance. We see this same pattern with the good thief who was crucified next to Jesus. Jesus didn't focus on the man's crimes. He focused on the moment the man repented of blaspheming Him (see Mt 27:44) and prayed: "Jesus, remember me when You enter upon Your reign" (Lk 23:42).

Most of us do the opposite of what the Lord does. We ignore hundreds of acts of faith and love while bringing up the few evil things a person has done. If we were God, we wouldn't rain on the just and the unjust (see Mt 5:45) and let the Ahabs and Jezebels of the world literally get away with murder, at least for a while. We don't see the point of loving our enemies (Mt 5:44). However, if the Lord didn't love His enemies, all of us would be condemned because of our sins.

We have all received the Lord's mercy, bought at the price of His blood. Now the Lord asks us the question: "Should you not have dealt mercifully with your fellow servant, as I dealt with you?" (Mt 18:33)

Prayer:  Father, may several of the worst sinners in the world repent this summer.

Promise:  "In a word, you must be made perfect as Your heavenly Father is perfect." —Mt 5:48

Praise:  For decades, Sister Nancy has risen before dawn each day to praise God and intercede for a long list of needs. Her prayers have borne great fruit in the lives of many.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 4, 2008

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