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Friday, February 6, 2015

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St. Paul Miki & Companions

Hebrews 13:1-8
Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 8-9
Mark 6:14-29

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pure courage

"John had told Herod, 'It is not right.' " —Mark 6:18

St. John the Baptizer had the love and courage to tell Herod: "It is not right for you to live with your brother's wife" (Mk 6:18). The writer of the book of Hebrews had the love and courage to clearly and bluntly teach: "Let marriage be honored in every way and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers" (Heb 13:4). Paul spoke the truth in love (Eph 4:15) when he repeatedly, clearly, and emphatically proclaimed: "Make no mistake about this: no fornicator, no unclean or lustful person — in effect an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with worthless arguments. These are sins that bring God's wrath down on the disobedient; therefore have nothing to do with them" (Eph 5:5-7; see also 1 Cor 6:9ff; Gal 5:21; Rm 1:18ff; 1 Thes 4:7-8). Jesus, the Truth (Jn 14:6) and Love Himself (1 Jn 4:16), taught: "What I say to you is: anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts. If your right eye is your trouble, gouge it out and throw it away!" (Mt 5:28-29)

If we are disciples of Jesus and truly love Him and His people, we will be pure and call others to purity. If we don't tell the Herods of the world that their adulteries and sexual sins are not right, we will quietly acquiesce to the murders, brutalities, and beheadings that they commit. If we don't stand up for purity, we won't stand up for life. If we don't stand up for purity, we won't stand up.

Be pure. Lose your life rather than your soul. Stand up for purity.

Prayer:  Father, grace me with love, courage, and purity.

Promise:  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." —Heb 13:8

Praise:  One of the Japanese martyrs, St. Philip of Jesus, had been a rambunctious youth. A family friend declared that Philip's chances of becoming a saint were as good as the dried-up fig tree in his garden sprouting leaves. On the day young Philip was martyred, the withered tree burst forth with abundant leaves.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014

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