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Thursday, February 24, 2011

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Sirach 5:1-8
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Mark 9:41-50

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seasonable weather

"Rely not on your wealth; say not..." —Sirach 5:1

Jesus, the son of Eleazar and the writer of Sirach (Sir 50:27), told us not to say four things:

  1. "Say not: 'I have the power' " (Sir 5:1). Except for God's grace, we would never take another step or say another word. Of ourselves, we don't have the power to resist any temptation or to repent.
  2. "Say not: 'Who can prevail against me?' " (Sir 5:3) Some people think they can dominate people, control the devil, and even manipulate God. They are tragically mistaken.
  3. "Say not: 'I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?' " (Sir 5:4) God is perfectly just. We will be punished forever for every sin we have ever committed, unless we repent and ask for His mercy made possible by the justifying death of Jesus (see Sir 28:1). The Lord is giving us time now to repent before it is too late.
  4. "Say not: 'Great is His mercy; my many sins He will forgive' " (Sir 5:6). We should respond to God's great mercy by repenting, not by continuing to sin (see Rm 6:1-2).

We are in the season of mercy now, but we have no idea when the season will change. Jesus said, "We must do the deeds of Him Who sent Me while it is day. The night comes on when no one can work" (Jn 9:4) The season of justice will follow the season of mercy. It begins when Jesus returns, and no one knows the day or the hour (Mt 24:36). Repent — completely, immediately.

Prayer:  Father, may I celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation while "it's in season."

Promise:  "Keep salt in your hearts and you will be at peace with one another." —Mk 9:50

Praise:  A close call on a country road prompted George to stop taking each day for granted, and to fix his eyes on Jesus (Heb 3:1).

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010

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