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Thursday, December 5, 2002

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Isaiah 26:1-6
Psalm 118
Matthew 7:21, 24-27

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religion and sin don't mix

Jesus said: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven." —Matthew 7:21

When we think of sinners, we think of atheists, agnostics, and those who scorn religion. These people are certainly sinners. Nevertheless, sinners also include religious people who cry out to God, "Lord, Lord," but do not do His will (Mt 7:21). The first sinners, Adam and Eve, had a personal relationship with the Lord, for they walked with Him in the evening (see Gn 3:8). Cain, the first murderer, was jealous of his brother Abel over a religious matter (Gn 4:4ff). The high priests, Pharisees, and scribes who had Jesus crucified were very religious. Many of those who persecuted and executed early Christians claimed to be worshipping God (see Jn 16:2).

This is not to say that religion is bad. "Indeed, religion...is a great gain" (1 Tm 6:6) as long as we do not approach our "religion to be a means of gain" (1 Tm 6:5)  and "make a pretense of religion but deny its power" (2 Tm 3:5).

As we prepare for Christmas, let us make sure that there will be no lip service (Mt 15:8), pretense, or hypocrisy in our Christmas. Rather than giving Christ the "silent treatment" this Christmas, let us totally give our lives to Jesus and be His witnesses. Have a religious, holy Christmas season. 

Prayer:  Father, make me more religious and obedient.

Promise:  "Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock." —Is 26:4

Praise:  Marcie was a witness to openness toward life as she received with great joy the conception of her first child shortly after her marriage.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend David L. Zink, June 12, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2002