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Saturday, October 24, 2009

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St. Anthony Mary Claret

Romans 8:1-11
Psalm 24:1-6
Luke 13:1-9

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"no condemnation" (rm 8:1)

"Then perhaps it will bear fruit. If not, it shall be cut down." —Luke 13:9

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus bluntly states that if we don't bear fruit, we will suffer a tragic end and be cut down like a barren tree. In other words, if we don't lead people to Christ, or at least try to lead them, we sin. We will be punished, unless we repent.

This month we celebrate World Mission Sunday. Most of us believe we should share our faith. We agree that if many people gave their lives to Jesus, this world would be a much better place. We realize that somebody shared their faith with us. So we see why we ought to pass on the favor. Consequently, hardly anyone is against missionary work or evangelization. Yet we still don't do it. What's the problem?

One of the obstacles to evangelizing is self-condemnation. When we feel condemned, worthless, unforgiven, and guilty, we aren't aware of any "good news" to share. Even if we theoretically believed in the good news of Jesus, we wouldn't feel adequate to express it. To come out of self-condemnation, we must renew our baptisms, for when we were baptized into Christ (Rm 6:3), we were freed from condemnation (Rm 8:1). We must also repent of sin. When we are guilty of sin, we expose ourselves again to condemnation. We may also need to be healed. Many of us have repented, confessed our sins, and are forgiven, but may not feel forgiven. We need healing to come out of self-condemnation. Then we will be more likely to go out and share our faith, the faith by which we have been healed.

Prayer:  Father, free me completely from condemnation so I will tell everyone about the One Who freed me.

Promise:  "But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you." —Rm 8:9

Praise:  A man attempted to kill St. Anthony after he converted the man's mistress. Anthony expressed his forgiveness by having the death penalty dropped from the man's sentence.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 3, 2009

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