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Monday, February 8, 2010

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St. Jerome Emiliani
St. Josephine Bakhita

1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
Psalm 132:6-10
Mark 6:53-56

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processions and recession

"Advance, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your majesty." —Psalm 132:8

After Solomon completed the building of the magnificent Temple, he had the ark of the covenant brought into the Holy of Holies in the Temple. This procession was spectacular, solemn, awesome, and inexpressibly majestic. For the occasion, "sheep and oxen too many to number or count" were sacrificed before the ark (1 Kgs 8:5). "When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the Temple of the Lord so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the Lord's glory had filled the Temple of the Lord" (1 Kgs 8:10-11).

In today's Gospel reading, we see not the ark of the covenant, but Jesus, the God of the covenant. Jesus went from village to village. His procession wasn't as solemn as that of the ark. "The crowds scurried about the adjacent area and began to bring in the sick on bedrolls" (Mk 6:55). They "begged Him to let them touch just the tassel of His cloak. All who touched Him got well" (Mk 6:56). In the Old Testament, when someone inadvertently touched the ark, they died (see 2 Sm 6:6-7). In the New Testament, crowds of people pushed, shoved, pulled, and touched Jesus. Instead of dropping dead, they were healed.

Jesus humbled and emptied Himself (see Phil 2:7), even becoming a human being. He exposed Himself to our pushing and touching. He even let us crucify Him. Why did Jesus expose Himself to our insensitivity, manipulation, violence, and brutality? He did this because He loves us more than we can ever imagine (see 1 Cor 2:9). Let His love surprise and overwhelm you.

Prayer:  Father, why would You send Your Son to die on the cross for me? Why? I love You.

Promise:  "Let Your faithful ones shout merrily for joy." —Ps 132:9

Praise:  St. Jerome escaped from prison only to use his freedom to help relieve the suffering of others.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009

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