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Wednesday, December 23, 1998

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St. John of Kanty

Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24
Psalm 25
Luke 1:57-66

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mister clean or <u>master</u> clean?

"Yes, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who will endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like the refiner's fire." —Malachi 3:1-2

Most of us believe we need to be cleaned physically. We believe in taking showers, shampooing our hair, washing our clothes, and brushing our teeth. Many of us also believe we need to be cleaned spiritually. We may go to Confession today or tomorrow in preparation for Christmas. However, few of us believe we need as much cleaning as the Lord says we need.

The Lord, for example, says that we need more than soap and a washcloth to clean us. We need "the refiner's fire" or "the fuller's lye" (Mal 3:2). If we do not receive this burning purification, we will not be able to "offer due sacrifice to the Lord" (Mal 3:3). Then the Lord will "come and strike the land with doom" (Mal 3:24). Few of us believe that wash-day is such a major need that it could become doomsday.

Zechariah also needed to be cleaned spiritually. Yet he needed more than a prayer. He needed nine months of deafening, mute silence to be purified enough to obey God and prophesy in the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:63-67).

Spiritual cleaning is a big deal — so big that God became a man and shed His blood to cleanse us of our sins (see Rv 7:14). Be thoroughly washed from your guilt and cleansed from your sins (Ps 51:4). Have a blood-red, pure, and holy Christmas!

Prayer:  Father, make me pure as Jesus is pure (1 Jn 3:3).

Promise:  "All who heard stored these things up in their hearts, saying, 'What will this child be?' " —Lk 1:66

Praise:  "O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, June 11, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 20, 1998