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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

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1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20
Psalm 40
Mark 1:29-39

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the miracle of parish renewal

"Speak, for Your servant is listening." —1 Samuel 3:10

The Church in Samuel's day was a mess. The high priest Eli "was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see" (1 Sm 3:2). Eli's sons, Hophni and Phinehas, "treated the offerings to the Lord with disdain" because of their gluttony (1 Sm 2:17). They also had sexual "relations with the women serving at the entry of the meeting tent" (1 Sm 2:22). No wonder "a revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent" (1 Sm 3:1).

Some of us also experience a lethargic, blind, greedy, and lustful church. We may not be as wicked as those in Samuel's "church," but we, like them, don't receive the Lord's revelations and visions that frequently. Under these circumstances, we feel like either leaving the Church or going to sleep. However, we should do what Samuel did. Samuel answered God's call, regardless of how wicked the "church" was. Then the Lord "revealed His presence" to him (1 Sm 3:10). "Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect" (1 Sm 3:19).

The Lord is renewing His Church even under the worst circumstances. He's working through people who stay in Church but don't stay asleep. He's working renewal through those who have faith enough to obey Him even when there seems no hope.

Prayer:  Father, may I love the Church so much I will give my life for her (Eph 5:25).

Promise:  "Rising early the next morning, He went off to a lonely place in the desert; there He was absorbed in prayer." —Mk 1:35

Praise:  For years, Joseph prayed for the faith of his children and grandson. Jesus answered his prayers, and Joseph rejoiced to see his grandson start bringing his parents back to the Church.

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

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