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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

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St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10
Psalm 71
Matthew 13:1-9

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the radical newness of life after baptism

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you." —Jeremiah 1:5

For the next two weeks at daily Mass, the Church reads to us from the prophet Jeremiah. Initially, Jeremiah balked at accepting God's call to prophesy. He tried the excuse that he was too young (Jer 1:6). God did not accept this excuse (Jer 1:7). Throughout much of Jeremiah's life, he continued to have problems answering God's call, although he was for the most part faithful to the Lord.

Many Christians can relate to Jeremiah because they too are ambivalent in responding to God's calls. However, Jesus said that every baptized person is greater than Jeremiah (Mt 11:11). Jeremiah never had a new nature, never was a son of God, and never received the body and the blood of Jesus. We live in a covenant whose glory is far beyond anything Jeremiah had ever known (see 2 Cor 3:10). Therefore, we should not relate so much to Jeremiah's ambivalence as to Jesus' faithfulness. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old order has passed away; now all is new!" (2 Cor 5:17) Live your Baptism radically and fully.

Prayer:  Father, may the study of the book of Jeremiah help me appreciate profoundly the radical newness of Baptism.

Promise:  "Part of it, finally, landed on good soil and yielded grain a hundred- or sixty- or thirtyfold. Let everyone heed what he hears!" —Mt 13:8-9

Praise:  St. Lawrence was known throughout Europe for leading troops into battle armed only with a crucifix.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Living the Sacramental Life on audio AV 56-3 or video V-56.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003