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Saturday, December 31, 2005

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Pope St. Sylvester I

1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96
John 1:1-18

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all's well that ends well

"Any who did accept [Jesus] He empowered to become children of God." —John 1:12

The revolutionary in Jerusalem was having a bad year. He was arrested, probably for murder, and sentenced to die in the worst possible manner: crucifixion. Then his bad year got even worse. He was whipped painfully and then had to carry a heavy crossbeam. He was crucified on his cross. The pain was unbearable. He couldn't hold in his resentment, and began to scream insults (Mk 15:32) at the crucified Jesus, Who "happened" to be hanging next to him.

Then, despite his pain and bitterness, he stopped thinking of himself and fixed his eyes on Jesus (Heb 3:1). He saw the royal dignity of Jesus in His suffering. He painfully pulled himself upright and defended Jesus publicly (Lk 23:40-41). Then, in a miraculous conversion, he uttered the final words of his year and his life: " 'Jesus, remember me when You enter upon Your reign.' And Jesus replied, 'I assure you: this day you will be with Me in paradise' " (Lk 23:42-43). The worst year of his life in its final hour became his best year.

Was 2005 a bad year for you? Did your year take a turn for the worse at the end? Were the resolutions you made twelve months ago never fulfilled? Don't give up on 2005 just because "it is the final hour" (1 Jn 2:18). "Even now" (Jl 2:12), bring your frustrations and shattered hopes to Jesus, "the End" (Rv 22:13). He can work miracles at the very last moment (Jn 2:10).

Prayer:  Jesus, even today, make 2005 "a year of favor" (Lk 4:19).

Promise:  "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory." —Jn 1:14

Praise:  Pope St. Sylvester I saw an end to the persecution of Christianity as a religion and used his freedom to build churches to honor Almighty God.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005

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