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Tuesday, August 29, 2000

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The Martyrdom of
St. John the Baptizer

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17
Psalm 96
Matthew 23:23-26

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"holy, holy, holy" (rv 4:8)

God "called you through our preaching of the good news so that you might achieve the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." —2 Thessalonians 2:14

The day of the Lord is coming (see 2 Thes 2:2). "A day of wrath is that day, a day of anguish and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick black clouds" (Zep 1:15). "Since everything is to be destroyed in this way, what sort of men must you not be! How holy in your conduct and devotion, looking for the coming of the day of God and trying to hasten it!" (2 Pt 3:11-12) The day of the Lord is a call to holiness.

Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees frauds, hypocrites, blind guides, fools, and whitened sepulchres (Mt 23:13ff). Jesus wasn't trying to insult the religious leaders so much as to call them to holiness. In a similar way, John the Baptizer called Herod and Herodias to turn from their sinful lifestyle and live in holiness.

God is holy. His preoccupation is that His name be recognized as holy (Mt 6:9) because His children are holy "in every aspect" of their conduct (1 Pt 1:15). Consider your joys and sorrows as calls to holiness. Those events that surprise or puzzle you may best be understood as calls to holiness. Therefore, strive "for that holiness without which no one can see the Lord" (Heb 12:14). Want, by God's grace, holiness more than you want anything else in life. "Be holy," for He is holy (1 Pt 1:16).

Prayer:  "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!" (Rv 4:8)

Promise:  "May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, may God our Father Who loved us and in His mercy gave us eternal consolation and hope, console your hearts and strengthen them for every good work and word." —2 Thes 2:16-17

Praise:  St. John the Baptizer rejoiced when people began "flocking to" Jesus instead of to him (Jn 3:26). He responded, "(Jesus) must increase, while I must decrease" (Jn 3:30).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, March 8, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 9, 2000