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Friday, July 9, 2010

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St. Augustine Zhao Rong
& Companions

Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 51:3-4, 8-9, 12-14, 17
Matthew 10:16-23

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many happy returns!

"Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the Lord." —Hosea 14:2-3

The Lord will never leave us, but we can sin and so choose to leave Him. If we have sinned, we must return to the Lord. We return to the Lord by saying "to Him, 'Forgive all iniquity' " (Hos 14:3) and by admitting that our human efforts will not save us (see Hos 14:4). We return by changing our hearts and going to Confession. We repent of our rebellion and humble ourselves before the Lord (see Jer 3:13, 14).

We return to the Lord by paying our tithes. "Yet you say, 'How must we return?' Dare a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! And you say, 'How do we rob You?' In tithes and in offerings!" (Mal 3:7-8) We return by changing our lifestyle. The Lord warns us: "Turn from your evil ways and from your wicked deeds" (Zec 1:4).

When we return to the Lord, we will find that His joy (see Ps 51:14), peace, love, freedom, power, mercy, compassion, wisdom, thanksgiving, hope, faith, and more will return to us. When we repent, we remove the wall of sin which separated us from the Lord, and the Lord's grace and love return to our lives. Many happy returns!

Prayer:  Father, baptize me in repentance (Lk 3:3). May I repent to a degree seldom seen in our world.

Promise:  "Straight are the paths of the Lord, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them." —Hos 14:10

Praise:  St. Augustine, one of the Chinese Martyrs, was baptized, then ordained a priest shortly thereafter. He and his companions chose to die rather than deny the Lord of Life.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2009

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