"Then you will again see the distinction between the just and the wicked; between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him." —Malachi 3:18
In the prophet Malachi's time, prosperity was considered a sign of divine approval. Malachi lamented that evildoers prospered at the expense of those who were just. Malachi wondered why God would bless evildoers and thus blur the distinction between those who obey Him and those who don't.
God then taught Malachi how to distinguish between the just and the wicked. It's in the heat of the oven that you can see the distinction between those who obey the Lord wholeheartedly and those who do not. In the furnace of affliction and testing, people are refined into the finest gold or are burned up like a withered branch (Jn 15:5-6).
"The day is coming, blazing like an oven...[that] will set [us all] on fire" (Mal 3:19). You can tell the difference between the just and the wicked in the fire. In the oven of affliction and testing, the just
- fear God and praise Him (Dn 3:24-90),
- turn to God, rely on Him, and persist in prayer (Lk 11:8),
- show constant generosity to others in need (Mal 3:10),
- continue to bear fruit for the kingdom of God (Ps 1:3), unlike the wicked, who wilt under pressure (Ps 1:4, 6),
- leap from the oven in joy when the trial is over (Mal 3:20).
Jesus came to set the earth on fire (Lk 12:49) and purify His people. Be willing to be "set aflame and burning bright" so all may see your good works and give God praise (Jn 5:35; Mt 5:16).
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, let Your fire fall. Let it burn over me.
Promise: "How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" —Lk 11:13
Praise: St. Bruno died as he had lived: in humility, self-denial and peace.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Bishop-Elect, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 26, 2011 (for 10-1-2011 through 11-29-2011) and May 26, 2011 (for 11-30-2011)
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