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Tuesday, July 8, 2003

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Genesis 32:23-33
Psalm 17
Matthew 9:32-38

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the mark of a christian

"The Pharisees were saying, 'He casts out demons through the prince of demons.' Jesus continued His tour of all the towns and villages. He taught in their synagogues, He proclaimed the good news of God's reign, and He cured every sickness and disease." —Matthew 9:34-35

The Lord commands us to avoid evil and to do good. A further stage of holiness is to do good and not be appreciated. Next, we can do good secretly to make sure we are not appreciated (see Mt 6:3-4). The next level is to do good, knowing that we will not only be unappreciated but even rejected for the good we do (see Mt 9:33-34). Finally, the Lord commands us to do good to our enemies, to those who have made a habit of rejecting and hurting us (see Lk 6:27). This is the love of Jesus on the cross and is the greatest expression of love. "It is rare that anyone should lay down his life for a just man, though it is barely possible that for a good man someone may have the courage to die. It is precisely in this that God proves His love for us: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rm 5:7-8).

There are a lot of do-gooders. Yet how many are do-gooders as Jesus is? There are many philanthropists, humanitarians, and nice people. But what the world always needs is not merely lovers of self and lovers of friends (see Mt 5:46-47) but lovers of enemies (Mt 5:44-45). By God's grace, do what is humanly impossible and rare. Be a Christian. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Lk 6:27).

Prayer:  Father, make me distinctly Christian.

Promise:  "You have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed." —Gn 32:29

Praise:  Nearing death, Sister Jean still feared it until a powerful experience of Jesus' presence brought her so much peace she let go of all fear.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Love on audio AV 58-1 or video V-58.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 29, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 31, 2002