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Sunday, May 9, 2004

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Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 14:21-27
Revelation 21:1-5
Psalm 145
John 13:31-33, 34-35

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hard lessons

"We must undergo many trials." —Acts 14:22

At the close of the very first Christian missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas instructed their disciples: "We must undergo many trials if we are to enter into the reign of God" (Acts 14:22). Trials, in fact, many trials, are a necessity. Although Jesus gives a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light (Mt 11:30), life in Christ is nonetheless a yoke and a burden.

Life is hard. This is not the Lord's idea. He did not make "death or mourning, crying out or pain" (Rv 21:4; see Wis 1:13). He will finally abolish all these evils. By our sins, we  have made life hard, and the Lord has permitted this to continue.

By sin, we harden our hearts. Hard objects can be broken up by other harder objects. The Lord can use hard lives to break up and open up our hard hearts. So He lets us "learn the hard way" so that we will repent, give our lives to Him, and not enter the everlasting hardness of hell.

"Oh, that today you would hear His voice: 'Harden not your hearts' " (Ps 95:7-8). Repent of any hardness of heart and go to Confession. If your heart is so hard that you refuse to repent, may the hard life you are making for yourself shatter the hardness of your heart.

Then if we open our hearts to the Lord, He will let us share in the hard sufferings of His cross so as to open the hardest hearts.

Prayer:  Jesus, You gave us Mary to be our mother shortly before You died on the cross (Jn 19:26-27). Let Mary teach me the hard facts and sublime joys of the cross.

Promise:  "This is how all will know you for My disciples: your love for one another." —Jn 13:35

Praise:  Praise Jesus, crucified, risen, and glorified Lord God!

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, October 9, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 14, 2003