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Friday, March 7, 2008

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Sts. Perpetua & Felicity

Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Psalm 34
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

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the pain of justice

"Let us beset the just one." —Wisdom 2:12

A just person seems obnoxious to the unjust (Wis 2:12). Merely seeing a just person is a hardship for the unjust (Wis 2:14). Therefore, the unjust feel compelled to revile the just, torture them, and even condemn them to death (Wis 2:19-20).

Those who want to live godly lives will be persecuted (2 Tm 3:12). Suffering persecution is the natural result of living just and godly lives. Because we all naturally want to be accepted and even popular, and because we naturally want to avoid pain and suffering, we have reason to not want to be just, godly, and holy. Although in our heart of hearts we want to be like the just and holy Jesus, at the same time we don't want the persecution and rejection resulting from life in Christ. Thus, we have a war of contradictions raging inside us.

We can end this war by capitulating to our fallen nature and our enemies. We can let our faith grow lukewarm and join the popular, unpersecuted, persecuting ranks of the unjust. Alternately, we can choose love rather than self. By love, we can remain just and take the painful flak that accompanies love.

Will you fold under pressure or be set free? Will you persecute or be persecuted? Do you nail just people to crosses or take up your own cross? Are you another enemy of the cross (Phil 3:18) or another Christ?

Prayer:  Father, this Lent I choose love, life, holiness, persecution, and the cross.

Promise:  "The truth is, I have not come of Myself. I was sent by One Who has the right to send." —Jn 7:28

Praise:  The love of God so animated Sts. Perpetua and Felicity that they were unaware of the grave injuries sustained during their martyrdom.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Crucifying Jesus on audio AV 65-3 or video V-65.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 14, 2007

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