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Saturday, March 10, 2012

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Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

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guilt riddance

"Who is there like You, the God Who removes guilt?" —Micah 7:18

In today's eucharistic Scriptures, the Lord throws our repented sins far into the ocean, into the very depths of the sea (Mi 7:19). Then He erects a huge sign marked: "No Swimming!" Yet some of us don't really understand God's amazing love. We put on a spiritual wetsuit, dive into the ocean in an attempt to retrieve our guilt, and spend years feeling guilty for having caused God and others so many problems. We're more comfortable in our prison of guilt than in being set free by Jesus.

The Lord doesn't want us to move back into prison after He has set us free. He grabs the guilt we recovered from the sea and tramples it under His feet (Mi 7:19). Jesus is serious. He really doesn't want us to take back that guilt. At this point, some of us are tempted to feel guilty about feeling guilty. This is why Jesus tells the story about the prodigal son. Jesus wants to see the guilty party — with music and celebration (Lk 15:23, 25).

When we're truly set free from our prison of guilt, however, not everyone rejoices. People want to put us back into our prison cell. When Jesus removes and tramples our guilt, we are free indeed! (Jn 8:36) Don't pay attention to what others think. Instead, focus on what Jesus thinks. We must "keep our eyes fixed on Jesus" (Heb 12:2). If He is for us, who can be against us? (Rm 8:31) If Jesus alone rejoices to see us free from guilt, then our opponents are outnumbered. "So stand firm, and do not take on yourselves the yoke of slavery" and guilt "a second time" (Gal 5:1).

Prayer:  Jesus, may all prisoners come to know in the core of their being the depths of Your mercy and compassion for them.

Promise:  "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He put our transgressions from us." —Ps 103:12

Praise:  "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless His holy Name" (Ps 103:1).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 2011

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