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Sunday, October 20, 2002

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29th Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5
Psalm 96
Matthew 22:15-21

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living the hard life

"Grace and peace be yours." —1 Thessalonians 1:1

1 Thessalonians is probably the earliest book of the New Testament. Therefore, it has special significance. To better understand these words of Paul, we must understand his life. Paul described his life in the following way: "...with my many more labors and imprisonments, with far worse beatings and frequent brushes with death. Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes less one; three times I was beaten with rods; I was stoned once, shipwrecked three times; I passed a day and a night on the sea. I traveled continually, endangered by floods, robbers, my own people, the Gentiles; imperiled in the city, in the desert, at sea, by false brothers; enduring labor, hardship, many sleepless nights; in hunger and thirst and frequent fastings, in cold and nakedness. Leaving other sufferings unmentioned, there is that daily tension pressing on me, my anxiety for all the churches" (2 Cor 11:23-28).

Paul suffered greatly in his life for Christ. Paul had a very hard life. However, it made him better rather than bitter because he belonged "to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes 1:1). Despite his extreme sufferings, Paul did not see his life as a series of cruel tragedies but as grace upon grace (see 1 Thes 1:1). When Paul looked at people, especially Christians, he kept thanking God for all of them and remembering them in his prayers (1 Thes 1:2). Although Paul was treated inhumanely, he loved life and people, because he loved Jesus. Live and love accordingly, especially if your life is hard.

Prayer:  Father, work together all things for the good of those who love You (see Rm 8:28).

Promise:  "...opening doors before him and leaving the gates unbarred." —Is 45:1

Praise:  "Give to the Lord, you families of nations, give to the Lord glory and praise; give to the Lord the glory due His name!" (Ps 96:7-8)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard L. Klug, April 10, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 18, 2002