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All Issues > Volume 24, Issue 2

<< Saturday, February 23, 2008 >> St. Polycarp
Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
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Psalm 103 Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
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"Who is there like You, the God Who removes guilt?" —Micah 7:18

In today's eucharistic Scriptures, the Lord throws our repented sins far into the ocean, into the very depths of the sea (Mi 7:19). Then He puts up a huge sign marked: "No Swimming!" Yet some of us don't really understand God's amazing love. We put on a spiritual wetsuit, dive into the ocean to retrieve our guilt, and spend years feeling guilty for having caused God and others so many problems. We're more comfortable in our prison of guilt than in being set free by Jesus.

The Lord doesn't want us to move back into prison after He's set us free. He grabs the guilt we recovered from the sea and tramples it under His feet (Mi 7:19). Jesus is serious. He really doesn't want us to take back that guilt. At this point, some of us are tempted to feel guilty about feeling guilty. This is why Jesus tells the story about the prodigal son. Jesus wants to see the guilty party — with music and celebration (Lk 15:23, 25).

When we're truly set free from our prison of guilt, however, not everyone rejoices. People want to put us back into our prison cell. When Jesus removes and tramples our guilt, we are free indeed! (Jn 8:36) Don't pay attention to what others think. Instead, focus on what Jesus thinks. We must "fix [our] eyes on Jesus" (Heb 3:1). If He is for us, who can be against us? (Rm 8:31) If Jesus alone rejoices to see us free from guilt, then our opponents are outnumbered. "So stand firm, and do not take on yourselves the yoke of slavery" and guilt "a second time" (Gal 5:1).

Prayer: Jesus, may all prisoners come to know in the core of their being the depths of Your mercy and compassion for them.
Promise: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He put our transgressions from us." —Ps 103:12
Praise: St. Polycarp calmly accepted martyrdom at age eighty-six after living a life totally devoted to his Lord.
(This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2008 through March 31, 2008.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 14, 2007.
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 24, Issue 2
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