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Friday, March 27, 1998

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Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Psalm 34
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

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the pain of justice

"Let us beset the just one." —Wisdom 2:12

A just person seems obnoxious to the unjust (Wis 2:12). Merely seeing a just person is a hardship for the unjust (Wis 2:14). Therefore, the unjust feel compelled to revile the just, torture them, and even condemn them to death (Wis 2:19-20). Those who want to live godly lives will be persecuted (2 Tm 3:12). Suffering persecution is the natural result of living just and godly lives.

Because we all naturally want to be accepted and even popular, and because we naturally want to avoid pain and suffering, we have reason to not want to be just, godly, and holy. Although in our heart of hearts we want to be like the just and holy Jesus, at the same time we don't want the persecution and rejection resulting from life in Christ. Thus, we have a war of contradictions raging inside us.

We can end this war by capitulating to our fallen nature and our enemies. We can let our faith grow lukewarm and join the popular, unpersecuted, persecuting ranks of the unjust. Or we can choose love rather than self. By love, we can remain just and take the painful flak that goes with love.

Will you fold under pressure or be free? Will you persecute or be persecuted? Do you nail just people to crosses or take up crosses? Are you another enemy of the cross (Phil 3:18) or another Christ?

Prayer:  Father, this Lent I choose love, life, holiness, persecution, and the cross.

Promise:  "The truth is, I have not come of Myself. I was sent by One Who has the right to send." —Jn 7:28

Praise:  Julie swallowed her pride and reconciled with her parents.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997