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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

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St. Anthony

Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17
Psalm 110
Mark 3:1-6

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mutiny on the bounty

"When the Pharisees went outside, they immediately began to plot with the Herodians how they might destroy Him." —Mark 3:6

The Pharisees, Israel's religious leaders, allied themselves with the Herodians, its political leaders, to destroy Jesus. Do we see the same thing today? Are there still Judases among Jesus' disciples, who will sell Him for silver? Is Jesus still a threat to the religious establishment? He was delivered up to be crucified not so much by the pagan Romans as by the religious leaders. The antichrists have always been "Christian," at least in name (1 Jn 2:18-19). Are parts of the Church body still crucifying the Head of the body, Jesus, "and holding Him up to contempt"? (Heb 6:6)

Many of us want to believe that religious leaders today are different from those of Jesus' time. Our leaders may not be perfect but we assume they're not out to destroy Jesus. Indeed many religious leaders are models of true, committed discipleship. Yet we still have Pharisees, Herodians, and Judases today. As in Biblical times, Jesus' opponents today may outnumber His disciples. We should expect persecution (2 Tm 3:12). Jesus said: "I tell you all this that in Me you may find peace. You will suffer in the world. But take courage! I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33).

Prayer:  Jesus, like You, may I expect persecution not only from unbelievers but even from my Christian brothers and sisters. May I forgive and love all my enemies.

Promise:  "Rule in the midst of Your enemies." —Ps 110:2

Praise:  St. Anthony took the passage, "Do not be anxious about tomorrow" literally and gave all his possessions to the poor (see Mt 6:34).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)

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

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