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Sunday, August 19, 2007

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20th Sunday Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Hebrews 12:1-4
Psalm 40
Luke 12:49-53

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black is beautiful

"Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite to take three men along with him, and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he should die." —Jeremiah 38:10

Jeremiah was literally stuck in the mud and left to starve (Jer 38:6, 9). Ebed-melech came to the rescue. The Bible mentions that Ebed-melech was a Cushite, that is, from a country of black people.

Few appreciate the role black people have played in God's plan of salvation as revealed in the Bible. For example, the first missionary chosen to take the gospel "even to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8) was the Ethiopian eunuch, a black man (Acts 8:27ff). Also, black men provided the prophetic revelation to send Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey. "There were in the church at Antioch certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Symeon known as Niger (black), Lucius of Cyrene..." (Acts 13:1). The town of Cyrene was in Northern Africa, and therefore Simon of Cyrene, the man chosen to carry Jesus' cross to Calvary, was quite possibly a black man (Lk 23:26).

Black brothers and sisters have been and continue to be of great importance in God's plan of salvation. Thank God for the faith of black people. Black is beautiful.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, root out racism from all churches, especially the Catholic Church. Deliver us from the evil one.

Promise:  "Let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead; let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus." —Heb 12:1-2

Praise:  Praise Jesus Who died and rose that all mankind might be saved. "To the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, be praise and honor, glory and might, forever and ever!" (Rv 5:13)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 14, 2007

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