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Sunday, May 3, 2009

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:8-12
1 John 3:1-2
Psalm 118
John 10:11-18

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daily dying (1 cor 15:31)

"It was done in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean Whom you crucified and Whom God raised from the dead." —Acts 4:10

Jesus said: "I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (Jn 10:11). "For these sheep I will give My life" (Jn 10:15). "The Father loves Me for this: that I lay down My life to take it up again. No one takes it from Me; I lay it down freely" (Jn 10:17-18). Jesus repeatedly emphasized that He freely laid down His life for us.

"The way we came to understand love was that He laid down His life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers" and sisters (1 Jn 3:16). "Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed. While we live we are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor 4:10-11). Paul said: "I swear to you, brothers, by the very pride you take in me, which I cherish in Christ Jesus our Lord, that I face death every day" (1 Cor 15:31). The Christian life is a life of love expressed in a daily dying to self, which culminates in a total and final dying for Jesus and His people.

As we die daily, we bear much fruit for God's kingdom, although we may know this only by faith. Jesus said: "I solemnly assure you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12:24). Therefore, die today and every day for love of Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, let my faith in Your risen Son free me to die daily, knowing that Your resurrection power is within me.

Promise:  "The reason the world does not recognize us is that it never recognized the Son. Dearly beloved, we are God's children now." —1 Jn 3:1-2

Praise:  Praise Jesus, the Firstborn from the dead, Who showed us not only how to die, but also how to live!

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008

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