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Monday, January 20, 2014

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Pope St. Fabian
St. Sebastian

1 Samuel 15:16-23
Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Mark 2:18-22

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downright upright

"To the upright man I will show how God can save." —Psalm 50:23, JB

Various people came to Jesus with the objection that His disciples did not fast, while the Pharisees and John the Baptizer did fast (Mk 2:18). John and the Pharisees were upright men, and Jesus kept the promise of Psalm 50:23 by showing them the salvation of God. Throughout the Gospel, Jesus spends time with the upright, teaching them and showing them God's heart and way of salvation (e.g Lk 7:36ff; 11:37ff; 14:1ff).

On Calvary, Jesus especially showed God's salvation to the upright in His passion, crucifixion, suffering, death, and resurrection. Did the upright members of the Sanhedrin and the upright Pharisees accept God's salvation? Some upright people who were shown the salvation of God accepted it (Acts 26:5ff; Jn 3:1). Others were scandalized by God's offer of salvation of sinners and rejected it (see Jn 12:42).

Are you upright? Praise Jesus if you are! In an increasingly immoral culture, upright men and women are much needed. The true upright person will make an honest assessment of God's generous offer of salvation and their own weakness in comparison to the uprightness of God. The question then becomes, can a person remain upright after having been shown the salvation of God and rejecting it? "Let anyone who thinks he is standing upright watch out lest he fall!" (1 Cor 10:12) Our hope is not in our own righteousness but the righteousness and the mercy of Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, may I never prefer the praises of people to Your glory (Jn 12:43).

Promise:  "Obedience is better than sacrifice." —1 Sm 15:22

Praise:  St. Sebastian was healed and restored from one attempted execution to confront the emperor again, giving a double witness to his faith in Jesus.

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

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2013

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