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Saturday, December 16, 2006

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Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
Psalm 80
Matthew 17:9, 10-13

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tough guys

"How awesome are you, Elijah!" —Sirach 48:4

During Advent, the Church feels compelled to introduce us to two grizzly characters, Elijah and St. John the Baptizer. Elijah was so tough he slit the throats of 850 false prophets (1 Kgs 18:19, 40). He called down fire to burn up one-hundred policemen who came to arrest him (2 Kgs 1:10-12; Sir 48:3). Elijah wore a brown outfit with a certain kind of belt (2 Kgs 1:8).

Years later, John the Baptizer came wearing this "Elijah-suit" to show he was a tough guy like Elijah. John was so tough he ate grasshoppers dipped in honey (Mt 3:4), like eating chicken nuggets or chips and dip. John was tough enough to call the religious leaders snakes (Mt 3:7) and confront Herod and Herodias with their adultery (Mt 14:4). As a consequence, he was beheaded by the government (Mt 14:10).

At Christmas time the world presents us with an array of wimps — roly-poly Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, etc., a bunch of stuffed animals and stuffed people. However, the Church introduces us to these tough guys as we near Christmas. Christmas is for those willing to be confronted with and convicted of sin. If we refuse to listen to God's hard words, we will have no room in our lives for the Word made flesh (Lk 2:7; Jn 1:14).

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, say anything to me that I need to hear, no matter what.

Promise:  "You are destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob." —Sir 48:10

Praise:  Sarah spends some of her Christmas day with her newly-born Savior by visiting those who are incarcerated (see Mt 25:36).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Effects of Sin on audio AV 81-3 or video V-81.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2006

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