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Thursday, April 2, 2020

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St. Francis of Paola

Genesis 17:3-9
Psalm 105:4-9
John 8:51-59

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jesus loves you to death

"They picked up rocks to throw at Jesus, but He hid Himself and slipped out of the temple precincts." —John 8:59

Jesus is God, "I AM" (Jn 8:58; Ex 3:14). Human beings have no power over Jesus, unless it is given them from above (Jn 19:11). On several occasions, people tried to kill Jesus, but He avoided death (see Lk 4:29-30; Jn 10:31; Jn 8:59, et. al). Next week, the Church observes the Passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ at the hands of men. Jesus could have called down twelve legions of angels to swiftly rescue Him from this gruesome death (see Mt 26:53), but He had freely chosen to lay down His life to save us (Jn 10:17-18).

When the time came for Him to be arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had the time and opportunity to slip away. A crowd with torches came to arrest him in the darkness of night. Jesus would have been able to see the flickering torches advance up the hill from the Kidron Valley (Jn 18:1-3). He had time to slip away once again over the top of the Mount of Olives and into the desert country. As the soldiers hiked up the hill to the garden, I picture Jesus thinking of me in danger of dying in my sins, and deciding to remain in that garden so that I could be saved instead of fleeing to save Himself. Can you picture Jesus thinking of you as the soldiers march up the hill to arrest Him? He loves each of us that much.

Jesus came that all might be saved (1 Tm 2:4). Accept Him as Lord, Savior, and God.

Prayer:  Father, this Lent give me an ever deeper appreciation of how deeply Jesus loves me.

Promise:  "I solemnly assure you, if a man is true to My word he shall never see death." —Jn 8:51

Praise:  After a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, St. Francis began to live as a hermit in a cave near Paola in Italy. This was the founding of the Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi. He died after Palm Sunday at ninety-one.

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 24, 2020

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