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Tuesday, June 30, 1998

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First Martyrs of Rome

Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12
Psalm 5
Matthew 8:23-27

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are you ready to die now?

"Prepare to meet your God." —Amos 4:12

The Lord says to all of us: "Put your house in order, for you are about to die" (Is 38:1). Whether your death is tomorrow or twenty years from now, it's not that far away, and you have no idea when you will die or when Jesus will return and the world end. Therefore, you must have your house in order now. By God's grace, you must always be prepared to meet God. If you're not ready to die now, there is no reason to believe that you will be ready later. Thomas á Kempis, in The Imitation of Christ, has taught: "Every action of yours, every thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience...Then why not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death? If you aren't fit to face death today, it's very unlikely you will be tomorrow..." (quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1014).

Therefore, "delay not to forsake sins, neglect it not till you are in distress" (Sir 18:21). "Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day; for suddenly His wrath flames forth" (Sir 5:8-9). "Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!" (2 Cor 6:2) "Prepare to meet your God" (Am 4:12).

Prayer:  "Lord, save us! We are lost!" (Mt 8:25)

Promise:  " 'What sort of Man is this,' they said, 'that even the winds and the sea obey Him?' " —Mt 8:27

Praise:  Many of the first martyrs of Rome willingly gave their lives for Jesus and were burned at the stake in the public arena. Their deaths lit a fire in the church of Rome (see Lk 12:49). "You are the light of the world...Your light must shine before men" (Mt 5:14, 16).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 29, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 2, 1997