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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Pope St. Leo the Great

Wisdom 2:23—3:9
Psalm 34:2-3, 16-19
Luke 17:7-10

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sister death

"But the souls of the just are in the hands of God, and no torment shall touch them." —Wisdom 3:1

It is foolish to think death is the end (Wis 3:2). The death of the just is neither an affliction nor utter destruction (Wis 3:2-3). Those dead in Christ are in peace (Wis 3:3), their spirits in the hands of God. Their bodies will rise to heavenly glory at Jesus' second coming. Jesus' victory over death made this possible.

Death is not the problem but the answer, the beginning not the end. Jesus promised: "I am the Resurrection and the Life: whoever believes in Me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever is alive and believes in Me will never die" (Jn 11:25-26). He showed by His resurrection He had power to keep that promise. He proclaims: "Once I was dead but now I live — forever and ever. I hold the keys of death" (Rv 1:18). Therefore, "death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54-55)

We can live freed from the slavery to fear of death (Heb 2:15). We can say with Paul: "I long to be freed from this life and to be with Christ, for that is the far better thing" (Phil 1:23). Life is good, but death and eternal life "the far better thing."

"Therefore, we continue to be confident. We know that while we dwell in the body we are away from the Lord. We walk by faith, not by sight. I repeat, we are full of confidence and would much rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Cor 5:6-8).

Prayer:  "Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death" (The Canticle of Brother Sun, St. Francis).

Promise:  "When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say, 'We are useless servants.' " —Lk 17:10

Praise:  Pope St. Leo protected and guided the Church before death and continues to intercede for her now.

Reference:  (Men, plan to attend a retreat on Dec. 5 for teachings that inspire and fellowship that encourages at our one-day retreat for men. Call 937-587-5464 or 513-373-2397 to register or for information.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 3, 2009

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