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Thursday, February 19, 1998

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James 2:1-9
Psalm 34
Mark 8:27-33

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flunking the third grade?

"He began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer much." —Mark 8:31

The first  grade in the school of Jesus is concerned with Jesus' question: "Who do people say that I am?" (Mk 8:27) In the second grade, Jesus asks each of us personally: "You...who do you say that I am?" (Mk 8:29) To answer this question properly, we must not only have knowledge of Jesus but also total faith in Him as Messiah and Lord (Mk 8:29). In the third grade, Jesus brings up the cross. Again, this is not merely a matter for discussion; it is a radical decision to live a new life of love. "Jesus said to all: 'Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps. Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will save it' " (Lk 9:23-24).

Peter flunked the third grade. He wanted a cross-less Christianity. Jesus temporarily expelled Peter from school, saying to him: "Get out of My sight, you satan!" (Mk 8:33)

After denying Christ three times, Peter cried tears of repentance (Lk 22:62) and finally got back into the third grade. Eventually, Peter was crucified himself. He made the grade, graduated, and rose into the everlasting happiness of heaven.

What grade are you in? Have you flunked out? Will you repent? Will you graduate? Give your life totally to the crucified and risen Messiah and Lord.

Prayer:  Jesus, I believe in You — Messiah, Lord, and God!

Promise:  "Did not God choose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom He promised to those who love Him?" —Jas 2:5

Praise:  Every Holy Thursday, Pete leads each of the shifts in his plant in prayers and devotions.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997