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Friday, November 10, 2000

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Pope St. Leo the Great

Philippians 3:17—4:1
Psalm 122
Luke 16:1-8

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"Continue, my dear ones, to stand firm in the Lord." —Philippians 4:1

Every culture has its blindspots — aspects of reality that it does not see. Also, every culture is in denial, in the psychological sense of the word. Moreover, every culture is not only blind but also blind to being blind (see Is 29:9). However, there is hope because the Lord reveals the truth to us and opens our culturally blinded eyes.

Thus, it is so convicting, and ultimately refreshing, to hear and read the Scriptures. Here we have the unadulterated truth in a multi-cultural, unblinded way. As an example, Paul called many of the Philippian Christians "enemies of the cross of Christ" (Phil 3:18). When was the last time you heard a pastor speak so bluntly to his parishioners? Paul would not have fit into the contemporary, feel-good Christianity when he broke down and cried while warning the Philippian Christians that some of them were headed for disaster (Phil 3:18-19). Paul commanded the Philippians to not even think of the world (Phil 3:19 in the Greek) but to be crucified to it (Gal 6:14). In a Christianity of compromise, Paul's words are seldom proclaimed. Consequently, they are surprising and can be refreshing.

Let us live in God's word (Jn 8:31) so that living in our culture will not blind us.

Prayer:  Father, especially in this year of the Great Jubilee, enlighten the eyes of my heart (Eph 1:18, old RSV).

Promise:  "He will give a new form to this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of His glorified body, by His power to subject everything to Himself." —Phil 3:21

Praise:  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Pope St. Leo wrote a profound doctrinal statement on the Incarnation of Christ. This became an official teaching of the Church.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 24, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 27, 2000