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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

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St. Polycarp

Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalm 31
Matthew 20:17-28

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cross walk

"The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, who will condemn Him to death." —Matthew 20:18

Jesus was telling His apostles about His imminent torture and death. He told them: "They will turn [Me] over to the Gentiles, to be made sport of and flogged and crucified" (Mt 20:19). After this heart-rending conversation about tragic suffering and death, James, John and their mother approached Jesus and asked for a promotion to the right and left hand of Jesus (Mt 20:21). They refused to relate to the message of the cross.

On another occasion, when Jesus first mentioned the cross, Peter said it would never happen. Jesus had to tell Peter, "Get out of my sight, you satan!" (Mk 8:33) The cross has been and still is a stumbling block to the Jews. They question how the Messiah can set people free if He was beaten and executed as a criminal. Pleasure-seeking Gentiles think the cross "an absurdity" (1 Cor 1:23). The cross makes no sense to those with the attitude: "If it feels good, do it."

Believers and unbelievers, Jews and Gentiles, have one thing in common: they all don't understand the cross. However,  "to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God" (1 Cor 1:18).

Prayer:  "Jesus, keep me near the cross." May I know nothing except what shines in the light of the cross (2 Cor 2:2, RNAB).

Promise:  "Remember that I stood before You to speak in their behalf, to turn away Your wrath from them." —Jer 18:20

Praise:  St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John the Apostle, was the first recorded martyr outside of the Bible.

Reference:  (To grow nearer to the cross, read the Bible daily. For encouragement, order any or all of these audio or video tapes: Ignorance of Scriptures is Ignorance of Christ, AV 82-1, V-82, How to Pray the Bible on audio AV 82-3 or on video V-82, How to Read the Bible on audio AV 46-3 or on video V-46, Principles of Bible Interpretation, audio AV 79-1, video V-79.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004