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Thursday, October 20, 2005

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St. Paul of the Cross

Romans 6:19-23
Psalm 1
Luke 12:49-53

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you're fired

"I have come to light a fire on the earth." —Luke 12:49

I recently read a story about forest fire in the Western United States. The cones of lodgepole pine trees won't drop their seeds unless an intense fire burns beneath them. In a fire, accumulated litter on the forest floor is burned off. Freed of the smothering litter and freed for new growth, the cycle of new life can begin.

We are like that. We accumulate junk in our lives which smothers our desire for the Lord. Jesus needs to burn away and divide us (Lk 12:51) from possessions, complacency, confusion, strife, unforgiveness, the desire for money, and all our sins, which suffocate our spirit. Then the cycle of new, abundant life can begin in us (Jn 10:10). "Our God is a consuming Fire" (Heb 12:29). "He will sit refining and purifying" us (Mal 3:3) until our faith shines brighter than pure gold (1 Pt 1:7). When the Refiner's fire is hot enough, the dross in our lives, that is, our sins, burns away.

Doctors and nurses put a needle into a hot flame to sterilize it. This burns away germs which could bring infection and death. We cook our food and boil water over flame to kill organisms which would infect us. In the same way, Doctor Jesus cannot tolerate the infection of sin which enslaves us (Rm 6:16) and leads us to death (Rm 6:23). The fire of His love will not allow Him to stand idly by while we poison ourselves with sin and "litter." He has to ignite the blaze (Lk 12:49) and set our life on fire.

"Stir into flame the gift" of the Holy Spirit (2 Tm 1:6). Catch fire for Jesus.

Prayer:  Jesus, may I burn for You now rather than forever in hell.

Promise:  "Now that you are freed from sin and have become slaves of God, your benefit is sanctification as you tend toward eternal life." —Rm 6:22

Praise:  St. Paul found greater success in life when he left his family's business to serve Jesus in the poor.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 21, 2005

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