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Monday, April 6, 2009

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Holy Week

Isaiah 42:1-7
Psalm 27
John 12:1-11

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"The Lord...Who gives breath to its people." —Isaiah 42:5

For today's Mass, I was the lector. As Mass started, I was seized by a mild asthma attack, and could breathe only in shallow gasps. I prayed for mercy, gave my breath to Jesus, and stood up to proclaim today's first reading to the congregation. At the instant I read aloud the passage that the Lord "gives breath to" His people (Is 42:5), I could suddenly breathe more deeply. Praise God, Who gives breath and all good gifts! (see Jas 1:17)

Though we can never outgive God, it's our life's vocation to give Him everything, to give the Lord our all. A woman gave her hair to Jesus out of love for Him (Lk 7:38). Mary of Bethany gave her perfume, worth a year's salary, to Jesus (Jn 12:3ff). A poor widow gave the Lord all she had (Mk 12:42-44). Jesus Himself taught that we must give all we have to obtain the kingdom of God, the pearl of great price (Mt 13:46). It may seem impossible to give the Lord your all, but "nothing is impossible with God" (Lk 1:37).

By contrast, Judas began his discipleship by laying down his life to serve Jesus. Judas held the purse for the apostles. Before long, he was not giving Jesus his all, but had begun helping himself to the money (Jn 12:6). In addition to holding the purse, he also held back from giving his life to Jesus. He did not love Jesus with abandon as did Mary of Bethany. Finally, he betrayed Jesus. Judas forgot, despite personally witnessing years of Jesus' miracles, that Jesus provides all that is needed when we serve Him.

Will you give all to Jesus as did Mary? Or will you hold onto things and keep them from Jesus? Repent of not giving Him all.

Prayer:  Lord, I know I can't outgive You, but I will give You my heart, mind, soul, strength, and my all.

Promise:  "I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of justice. I have grasped you by the hand." —Is 42:6

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Whose life was poured out like a libation.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008

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