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Tuesday, October 19, 1999

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North American Martyrs (USA)

Romans 5:12, 15, 17-19, 20-21
Psalm 40
Luke 12:35-38

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"As sin reigned through death, grace may reign by way of justice leading to eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."  —Romans 5:21

The body of Christ is broken. The culture of death is becoming even more oppressive. Millions of babies do not survive long enough to be born. The unfaithfulness of Christians is scandalous. Under these circumstances, you would think we would be depressed and even despairing.

However, "despite the increase of sin, grace has far surpassed it" (Rm 5:20). Pope John Paul II has prophesied that we can have a new springtime of the Christian life right now if we are docile to the action of the Holy Spirit (Towards the Third Millennium (TMA), 18). After this new springtime, we will have the greatest of all Jubilees (TMA, 16) in which justice and freedom will be restored to the world. Jeremiah also prophesied: "I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope" (Jer 29:11). The bishops of Vatican II have also prophesied that Mary is a sign of sure hope (The Church, 68). With Mary leading her children, we will cross the threshold of hope into the new millennium.

In a despairing world, we Christians are a people full of hope, "and this hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us" (Rm 5:5). Therefore, "should anyone ask you the reason for this hope of yours, be ever ready to reply" (1 Pt 3:15). There is hope in Christ, and only in Christ.

Prayer:  Father, may I be motivated by hope (see Col 1:4).

Promise:  "It will go well with those servants whom the Master finds wide-awake on His return. I tell you, He will put on an apron, seat them at table, and proceed to wait on them." —Lk 12:37

Praise:  St. Isaac Jogues, leader of the North American martyrs, had lost several fingers due to the savagery of the Iriquois tribe. He persevered and continued to use his scarred hands to celebrate Mass and baptize Indian converts until he was martyred.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 10, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 16, 1999