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Friday, October 10, 1997

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Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2
Psalm 9
Luke 11:15-26

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radical and fanatical

"Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on My holy mountain!" —Joel 2:1

Imagine walking into church only to find your pastor prostrate before the altar, weeping and wailing in repentance for his sins and those of God's people (Jl 1:13). "The wages of sin is death" (Rm 6:23). God is beginning to pay us our wages. In fact, we are getting not only death but what the Pope calls a whole "culture of death." We have even more reason to cry and repent than did the people of Joel's time.

We must not minimize or euphemize the deadly effects of sin. We should not take the effects of sin in stride but take them very hard — hard enough to cry and wail, hard enough to break out of the status quo and declare a state of emergency. Our problem is not that things are bad. Rather, our problem is: we are in denial that our situation is that bad. Sin is the worst evil possible. Countless people are living in sin. Therefore, we are in a true emergency, even in a society of contrived emergencies.

In a state of emergency, only those who seem to be fanatics are acting sanely. Sin is worth getting very upset and sad about. "Indeed, sorrow for God's sake produces a repentance without regrets, leading to salvation, whereas worldly sorrow brings death. Just look at the fruit of this sorrow which stems from God. What a measure of holy zeal it has brought you...What indignation, fear, and longing! What ardent desire to restore the balance of justice!" (2 Cor 7:10-11)

Therefore, get radical; get fanatical about repentance.

Prayer:  Father, may there be more sorrow on earth over one sinner who doesn't repent (cf Lk 15:7).

Promise:  "If it is by the finger of God that I cast out devils, then the reign of God is upon you." —Lk 11:20

Praise:  Helen was healed while the members of her prayer group were merely talking about Jesus.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 22, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 26, 1997