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Monday, December 10, 2007

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Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 85
Luke 5:17-26

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special effects

"We have seen incredible things today!" —Luke 5:26

Our society, and our human nature, is fascinated with the sensational. Movie and TV producers understand this, and so they frequently substitute special effects for substance and quality content, knowing that sensationalism attracts people.

The Lord, on the other hand, Whose ways are so high above our ways (Is 55:8-9), focuses on internals rather than on the outward appearance (1 Sm 16:7). He knows that the most spectacular events can't cause a hardened heart to change (see Lk 16:31). The Lord will not comply with a faithless request for signs, which springs from a desire for entertainment rather than a sincere quest for the truth (see Mt 16:1-4; Lk 23:8).

However, God, Who is "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4), does attract millions of people with His own "special effects." He has provided His Church with seven sacraments. The sacraments are outward "signs of grace" (Catechism, 1131). Each sacrament is a miracle which cannot fail to attract those with faith (Lk 5:20), who seek the truth rather than entertainment.

Look not so much for the signs of the Lord; look rather in faith for the Lord of the signs. Receive the Eucharist in Mass frequently, even daily. Repent! Make an Advent Confession and let Jesus forgive your sins (Lk 5:20, 24). In His sacraments, you "will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God" (Is 35:2).

Prayer:  Father, may I hear what You proclaim (Ps 85:9) rather than harboring evil thoughts (Mt 9:4).

Promise:  "My friend, your sins are forgiven you." —Lk 5:20

Praise:  Elizabeth repented of her sins and went to Confession for the first time in many years.

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

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 30, 2007

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