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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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St. Paul Miki & Companions

Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15
Psalm 103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18
Mark 6:1-6

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Jesus "could work no miracle there, apart from curing a few who were sick by laying hands on them, so much did their lack of faith distress Him." —Mark 6:5-6

Jesus wanted to do many miracles and healings for the people of His hometown. However, He cured only "a few" people. This was not because the people failed to recognize Him as Miracle-Worker and Healer (see Mk 6:2); it was due to their "lack of faith" in Him as Prophet. Thus, "Jesus' response to all this was: 'No prophet is without honor except in his native place, among his own kindred, and in his own house' " (Mk 6:4). Jesus likewise wants to do many miracles and healings in our lives, but we will receive only "a few" from Him unless we believe in Jesus as Prophet.

Prophets and prophetesses tend to bring up much more than we want to deal with. Like two-edged swords, their words penetrate and divide our souls from our spirits, and judge the thoughts and reflections of our hearts (Heb 4:12). Prophets also upbuild, console, and encourage us (1 Cor 14:3). They say what the Lord is saying right now to us. Their favorite theme is repentance, although they can say almost anything at any time. They are unpredictable, confrontational, convicting, penetrating, encouraging, upsetting, upbuilding, consoling, and more. We usually find prophets "too much" for us (Mk 6:3). Thus, we refuse to honor them and instead often dishonor them. We must resist the temptation to despise prophecy, prophets, and prophetesses (1 Thes 5:20). Otherwise, we will deprive ourselves of the Lord's greatest gifts.

Prayer:  Father, may I set my heart on all the spiritual gifts, above all the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:1).

Promise:  "Strive for peace with all men, and for that holiness without which no one can see the Lord." —Heb 12:14

Praise:  Although Japan was closed to Christianity after St. Paul Miki's martyrdom, the Japanese underground church grew to number 200,000 Catholics in the next 250 years.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 13, 2012

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