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Saturday, January 8, 2005

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1 John 5:14-21
Psalm 149
John 3:22-30

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self-denied and crucified

"The groom's best man waits there listening for him and is overjoyed to hear his voice. That is my joy." —John 3:29

The Christmas season can become merely an exercise in selfishness, as we give to get, indulge ourselves, and become engrossed in carnal pursuits. Alternatively, the Christmas season can be an exercise in dying to self and proclaiming that Jesus "must increase, while I must decrease" (Jn 3:30). 

Are you self-denied and crucified? Whether we are self-centered or self-denied is a matter of life or death. Remember Solomon judging the case of two women, both claiming the same baby? (1 Kgs 3:16ff) There was no way to tell who was the real mother until Solomon offered to cut the baby in two and give each one half. The real mother gave up her claim so her baby might be spared.

Let us say with Paul: "I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me" (Gal 2:19-20). "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24). "Jesus said to all: 'Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self' " (Lk 9:23).

The real Christian dies to self so others may live. Isn't that the message of the cross? Isn't that Jesus' way of salvation? Real Christians die so they may live. "I solemnly assure you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12:24-25).

Prayer:  Jesus, You became man when You emptied Yourself (Phil 2:7). By Your grace, may I empty myself of self.

Promise:  "We have this confidence in God: that He hears us whenever we ask for anything according to His will." —1 Jn 5:14

Praise:  George stopped watching football on TV and started spending time with his wife and children. Now his family prays together daily.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004