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Friday, March 26, 2004

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Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Psalm 34
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

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years of bitter suffering and perfect love

"With revilement and torture let us put Him to the test that we may have proof of His gentleness and try His patience. Let us condemn Him to a shameful death." —Wisdom 2:19-20

"At this they tried to seize Him, but no one laid a finger on Him because His hour had not yet come." —John 7:30

Jesus suffered for love of us not only during His long hours on the cross but also in His three years of public ministry. Even early in Jesus' ministry, there were attempts to kill Him (see Lk 4:29-30). This continued throughout His ministry with even greater intensity (see Jn 7:1, 30; 8:59). Although some people accepted Jesus at least temporarily, for the most part Jesus was the Keystone of the structure Who was rejected by the builders (Mt 21:42; Ps 118:22). Incredibly, Jesus was accused of being in league with the devil (Mk 3:22). Even His relatives thought He was crazy (Mk 3:21). Peter, the leader of Jesus' apostles, denied Jesus three times. Judas betrayed Jesus by selling Him for thirty pieces of silver. Furthermore, Jesus, Who is God and therefore lives outside of time, was rejected and brutalized by the sins of each one of us.

Jesus suffered more than anyone has ever suffered. It is impossible for any creature to conceive of the magnitude of His suffering. Jesus loves more than anyone has ever loved. He is literally Love Himself (see 1 Jn 4:16). As we have personally caused His sufferings, may we take personally His crucified love. Give yourself totally to Jesus and worship Him forever.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to lead me more deeply into the mystery of Christ's sufferings.

Promise:  "They knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls' reward." —Wis 2:22

Praise:  When Steve was flat on his back in the emergency room, he began to understand suffering and the need to pray. He then re-dedicated himself to prayer for the suffering.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 18, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 24, 2003