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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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St. Polycarp

Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Matthew 23:1-12

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"be reconciled to god!" (2 cor 5:20)

"Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord: though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow." —Isaiah 1:18

The Pharisees and Sadducees had hearts for their own honor. Before Jesus chastised them for their pride, He wept over them, lamenting that in their desire for honors, they had completely missed "the path to peace" (Lk 19:42). Moreover, their pride caused them to be badly misled and fail to understand the power of God (Mk 12:24). God's plan is to touch the hearts of sinful men and women with self-sacrificing, humble love.

Lent is the season to humble our pride and bow before the Lord. One of the best ways to do this is to make a sincere, truthful Lenten Confession. In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on this night for the last several years, every Church opened its doors for Confession from 7-9PM. Surely many returned to the Lord (Jl 2:13) in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Lord Jesus opens His arms wide to embrace His people. Our sins cannot keep His love away; it's only our stiff-necked pride that keeps Him at arms-length.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord (1 Pt 5:6). Confess your sins to Him (Ps 32:5). Receive His forgiveness, love, and peace. "Make things right" and be washed clean.

Prayer:  Father, may I make any changes necessary to be reconciled to You before this day is over.

Promise:  "Cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim."—Is 1:16-17

Praise:  St. Polycarp was condemned to die by burning at the stake as a martyr. God protected him from the burning flames (see Is 43:2), so his executioners were forced to stab him to death.

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, September 28, 2015

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