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Monday, August 13, 2018

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Pope St. Pontian
St. Hippolytus

Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14
Matthew 17:22-27

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"it comes as no surprise"

"Then Jesus on entering the house asked, without giving him time to speak: 'What is your opinion, Simon?' " —Matthew 17:25

It was no surprise, except to Peter, that Peter denied Christ three times shortly before Jesus was crucified. Peter had indicated the shallowness of his relationship with the Lord when he:

  • failed to recognize the implications of his profession of faith in Jesus, the Messiah and "the Son of the living God" (cf Mt 16:16 and Mt 17:4, 24ff),
  • denied that Jesus would have to suffer (Mt 16:22),
  • did not judge "by God's standards but by man's" (Mt 16:23), and
  • lacked the faith to free a boy from demonic possession (Mt 17:16ff).

When the mass apostasy occurs at the end of the world (2 Thes 2:3), if we suffer severe temptations before our deaths, or if we face being martyred, will we accept God's grace and rise to the occasion, or will we sin, compromise, and be manipulated into denying Christ? Right now, we are showing signs of faithfulness or unfaithfulness. It probably shouldn't be a surprise what we will do when the pressure's on. What does the depth of your faith in the present say about the strength of your commitment to Jesus in the future?

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to confirm and deepen my love for You.

Promise:  "Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day was the splendor that surrounded Him. Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." —Ez 1:28

Praise:  Pope St. Pontian remained faithful to the Lord and the Church through exile and eventual martyrdom. He forgave St. Hippolytus, a rival anti-pope who dedicated himself to discrediting Pontian. Hippolytus humbled himself and wrote his followers to support Pontian, the true pope.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 15, 2017

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