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Sunday, February 24, 2008

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Third Sunday of Lent

Exodus 17:3-7
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
Psalm 95
John 4:5-42

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"Through His own spoken word many more came to faith." —John 4:41

Jesus stayed in a Samaritan town for two days and dramatically transformed that town. Many people believed in Jesus "on the strength" of the Samaritan woman's word and "many more came to faith" through Jesus' own spoken word (Jn 4:39, 41). Jesus wants to convert not only individuals but whole cities, countries, races, populations, businesses, schools, and neighborhoods.

This is difficult for us in the USA to believe. We don't even see many individuals converted, let alone towns, villages, or countries. Nevertheless, 120,000 Ninevites repented in one day (Jon 4:11). A second Samaritan town was converted to the Lord at the preaching of the apostles (Acts 8:14ff). Three thousand people were baptized on the first Pentecost (Acts 2:41). "All the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon...were converted to the Lord" (Acts 9:35).

Jesus has converted, is converting, and will convert large numbers to Himself. In Africa and China today, it's common to see large numbers and whole villages come to the Lord. We must walk by faith in His word and not by our sight or our limited and limiting experience (see 2 Cor 5:7). We must focus on God's sovereignty and grace and not on our problems or our weaknesses. Jesus promised: "I — once I am lifted up from earth — will draw all men to Myself" (Jn 12:32). Jesus is still doing this with all His perfect love and awesome power.

Prayer:  Father, give me the expectant faith of the early Church after Pentecost.

Promise:  "This hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit." —Rm 5:5

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who continues to draw all to Himself by His irresistible love for us.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 14, 2007

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