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Thursday, January 24, 2008

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St. Francis de Sales

1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7
Psalm 56
Mark 3:7-12

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full-court press

"My adversaries trample upon me all the day." —Psalm 56:3

Jesus was almost pushed into the Sea of Galilee by the press of the crowd. He had to get into a fishing boat to protect Himself. "All who had afflictions kept pushing toward Him to touch Him. Unclean spirits would catch sight of Him, fling themselves at His feet, and shout" (Mk 3:10-11). Jesus had a serious problem with crowd control. "It was no longer possible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He stayed in desert places; yet people kept coming to Him from all sides" (Mk 1:45).

Sometimes the crowd of thousands that gathered to hear Jesus was "so dense that they were treading on one another" (Lk 12:1). Jesus was so pressed in by the crowd that it was impossible to even get any food to Him (Mk 3:20). In addition to pressure from crowds and demons, Jesus "was deeply grieved" that the religious leaders "had closed their minds against Him" (Mk 3:5), for the Pharisees and Herodians were plotting "how they might destroy Him" (Mk 3:6).

If overwhelming crowds, shouting demons, and hateful plots weren't enough, Jesus' family "came to take charge of Him, saying, 'He is out of His mind'; while the scribes who arrived from Jerusalem asserted, 'He is possessed by Beelzebul' " (Mk 3:21-22).

The superabundant love of Jesus' heart for all of us pressed on Him from within. His indescribable love for each of us pressed Him to the wood of the cross more than did the nails in His hands and feet. So press on and carry the Good News of Jesus, Lord and Savior, to a hurting, depressed world.

Prayer:  Father, thank You for loving me so much that You gave Your "Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life" (Jn 3:16).

Promise:  "He had cured many." —Mk 3:10

Praise:  St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life is still prophetic after four hundred years.

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

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