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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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First Martyrs of Rome

Genesis 19:15-29
Psalm 26:2-3, 9-12
Matthew 8:23-27

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now or never?

"Lot's wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt." —Genesis 19:26

Jesus said: "Whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for the reign of God" (Lk 9:62). Paul said: "I give no thought to what lies behind but push on to what is ahead. My entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize to which God calls me — life on high in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:13-14). The author of Hebrews remarks that if men and women of faith "had been thinking back to the place from which they had come, they would have had the opportunity of returning there. But they were searching for a better, a heavenly home. Wherefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them" (Heb 11:15-16).

If we look back, we're not fit for God's kingdom, we lose the race. Moreover, the Hebrews text quoted above even implies that God might be ashamed to be called our God. If you still have any leftover sins from the past in your life, repent, be healed, and move on. The Lord does not want us living in the past or the future. We must live in the "now."

We thank God for what has been and rejoice in what will be, but live in what is. We learn from the past and walk into the future but love God in the present. The past is over, the future may not be. "Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!" (2 Cor 6:2)

Prayer:  Father, I love You now, I love the now.

Promise:  "Then He stood up and took the winds and the sea to task. Complete calm ensued." —Mt 8:26

Praise:  Many of the first martyrs of Rome willingly gave their lives for Jesus and were burned at the stake in the public arena. Their deaths lit a fire in the church of Rome (see Lk 12:49). "You are the light of the world...your light must shine before men" (Mt 5:14, 16).

Reference:  (A study of Paul's letter to the Romans will be held at our Discipleship Center July 13-16. Call 937-587-5464 for details.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 5, 2009

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