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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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St. Apollinaris

Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10
Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
Matthew 13:1-9

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the radical newness of life after baptism

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you." —Jeremiah 1:5

For the next two weeks at daily Mass, the Church reads to us from the prophet Jeremiah. Initially, Jeremiah balked at accepting God's call to prophesy. He tried the excuse that he was too young (Jer 1:6). God did not accept this excuse (Jer 1:7). Throughout much of Jeremiah's life, he continued to have problems answering God's call, although he was for the most part faithful to the Lord.

Many Christians can relate to Jeremiah because they too are ambivalent in responding to God's calls. However, Jesus said that every baptized person is greater than Jeremiah (Mt 11:11). Jeremiah never had a new nature, never was a baptized son of God, and never received the body and the blood of Jesus. We live in a covenant whose glory is far beyond anything Jeremiah had ever known (see 2 Cor 3:10). Therefore, we should not relate so much to Jeremiah's ambivalence as to Jesus' faithfulness. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old order has passed away; now all is new!" (2 Cor 5:17) Live your Baptism radically and fully.

Prayer:  Father, may the study of the book of Jeremiah help me appreciate profoundly the radical newness of Baptism.

Promise:  "See, I place My words in your mouth!" —Jer 1:9

Praise:  The martyr St. Apollinaris was a faithful bishop. He defended Christians to the emperor and Christ to non-Christians.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 20, 2016

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