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Sunday, March 5, 2000

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9th Sunday Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 5:12-15
2 Corinthians 4:6-11
Psalm 81
Mark 2:23—3:6

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the joyful privilege of suffering

"While we live we are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh." —2 Corinthians 4:11

Although the kingdom of God is a matter "of justice, peace, and the joy that is given by the Holy Spirit" (Rm 14:17), it is also a matter of denying ourselves and taking up the daily cross (Lk 9:23). "We are afflicted in every way possible, but we are not crushed; full of doubts, we never despair. We are persecuted but never abandoned; we are struck down but never destroyed. Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed" (2 Cor 4:8-10).

"Christ suffered in the flesh; therefore arm yourselves with His same mentality. He Who has suffered in the flesh has broken with sin" (1 Pt 4:1). "Do not be surprised, beloved, that a trial by fire is occurring in your midst. It is a test for you, but it should not catch you off guard. Rejoice instead, in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings. When His glory is revealed, you will rejoice exultantly" (1 Pt 4:12-13).

"All this is as God intends, for it is your special privilege to take Christ's part — not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him" (Phil 1:28-29). "It is for His kingdom you suffer" (2 Thes 1:5). "The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward" (Jer 31:16). "There is hope for your future, says the Lord" (Jer 31:17).

Prayer:  Father, may I find my joy in the sufferings I endure for the Church (Col 1:24).

Promise:  Jesus "said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' The man did so and his hand was perfectly restored." —Mk 3:5

Praise:  Jesus has rescued us in our distress (Ps 81:8) and He will raise us to eternal life on high. Alleluia!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, July 28, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 1999