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Friday, March 17, 2006

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St. Patrick

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28
Psalm 105:16-21
Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

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inside job

"The Stone Which the builders rejected has become the Keystone of the structure." —Matthew 21:42

Today hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world don't eat meat. Why? The purpose of this abstinence is not to change our weights but our hearts. This is the purpose of the entire forty-day Lenten fast.

If we're honest with ourselves, we have to admit we have a Pharisee inside who rejects Jesus, "the Keystone" of our lives. Behind our mask of friendliness, we are like Joseph's brothers, jealous and even violent (Gn 37:4). There's something wrong inside every human person, including ourselves.

By faith in Jesus, we have received a new nature, but we still sin and need forgiveness. We have embarked on the road to holiness, but we're not yet holy in every aspect of our conduct (1 Pt 1:15).

We must change inside. Our Lenten fasting is an act of faith and obedience which opens our hearts to the Lord. We admit our sinfulness and our constant need for the Savior and Sanctifier. By obeying God's call to fast, we are "releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke" (Is 58:6). Chains inside us are being broken so we can go forth and break the chains of an enslaved world. A changed world begins with a changed heart.

Prayer:  Father, send the Spirit to convict me of my sin. Before this day ends, may I see You working in my life.

Promise:  "His purpose was to rescue him from their hands and restore him to his father." —Gn 37:22

Praise:  St. Patrick was released from slavery by a miracle and even more miraculously returned to free his captors.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Am I Going to Heaven? on audio AV 54-3 or video V-54.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 2005

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