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Friday, March 15, 2013

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Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Psalm 34:17-21, 23
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

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lent's last joyfully painful days

"To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us. Because his life is not like other men's, and different are his ways." —Wisdom 2:14-15

The lives of the just are a bright light and a prophetic witness against the deeds of darkness (Wis 2:12ff). Therefore, "everyone who practices evil hates the light; he does not come near it for fear his deeds will be exposed" (Jn 3:20). Those in the darkness of sin show their hatred for those who are the light of the world (see Mt 5:14) by reviling and torturing them (Wis 2:19). They may even condemn them to a shameful death (Wis 2:20).

During Lent, we try to imitate Jesus in fasting for forty days (see Mt 4:2). As this inspires us to imitate Jesus in other ways, we walk more and more in the light (see 1 Jn 1:7). This means we are a greater irritation to those in darkness and therefore more likely to be persecuted more often and more severely. Therefore, the last days of Lent can be exceptionally difficult.

Two weeks from today is Good Friday, the day on which we especially remember Jesus' saving death. As Jesus neared the first Good Friday, His opponents tried to seize and kill Him (Jn 7:1, 30). Likewise, as you near Good Friday, expect increasing persecution (2 Tm 3:12). If you are "judged worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name" of Jesus, you should rejoice that you are walking in the light more deeply (Acts 5:41). "Happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God's Spirit in Its glory has come to rest on you" (1 Pt 4:14). "Blest are those persecuted for holiness' sake; the reign of God is theirs" (Mt 5:10).

Prayer:  Father, make me worthy of being persecuted more. May I love You so much as to desire to suffer for You.

Promise:  "He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father." —Wis 2:16

Praise:  Robert saw the awesome connection between the Mass and Calvary.

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

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