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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

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St. Bernardine of Siena

Acts 17:15, 22—18:1
Psalm 148
John 16:12-15

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take the heat

"When they heard about the raising of the dead, some sneered, while others said, 'We must hear you on this topic some other time.' " —Acts 17:32

When Paul began to preach to the Athenians, "some sneered," a typical reaction to Paul's preaching of the gospel. When Paul preached, the response was "hot or cold," but not lukewarm (Rv 3:16). People either accepted Jesus or sneered in rejection. However, other Athenians replied to Paul's preaching with the comment: "We must hear you on this topic some other time" (Acts 17:32). "Indeed, all Athenian citizens, as well as the foreigners who live there, love nothing more than to tell about or listen to something new" (Acts 17:21). This was a lukewarm reaction. The gospel was not considered any more important than some talk-show trivia. This lukewarm reaction was devastating to Paul. When he "left Athens and went to Corinth" (Acts 18:1), he came "in weakness and fear, and with much trepidation" (1 Cor 2:3).

Jesus is also upset by lukewarmness. In fact, His stomach becomes so upset that He feels like throwing up (Rv 3:16). Jesus prefers a cold rejection to lukewarm apathy.

Therefore, we must never lose our first love (Rv 2:4). "Our desire is that each of you show the same zeal till the end" (Heb 6:11). "Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit; He Whom you serve is the Lord" (Rm 12:11). "Keep firmly in mind the heights from which you have fallen. Repent, and return to your former deeds" (Rv 2:5).

Prayer:  Father, during this Easter season, heat me up so I might repent of my sins.

Promise:  He "will announce to you the things to come." —Jn 16:13

Praise:  St. Bernardine was filled with a zeal for God that led him to a total life of service. He worked with the sick and later preached in his own and other lands.

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

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