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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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St. Polycarp

Sirach 4:11-19
Psalm 119:165, 168, 171-172, 174-175
Mark 9:38-40

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"separated brethren"

"Jesus said in reply: 'Do not try to stop him. No man who performs a miracle using My name can at the same time speak ill of Me. Anyone who is not against us is with us.' " —Mark 9:39-40

Jesus says all those who use His name and oppose the devil are "with us." This does not mean using Jesus' name in a casual way but being committed to Him as Lord, Savior, and God. No matter how many differences we have with other followers of Jesus, we should not be fighting with each other but together fighting the evil one, for "our battle is not against human forces," especially fellow Christians (Eph 6:12).

Our denominations and petty divisions within denominations are not in accord with God's will. They are a scandal. They play right into the hands of the devil, and assist him in sabotaging the building of God's kingdom.

First and foremost, Christians of all groups and denominations are brothers and sisters in the Lord. If we go to heaven, we will all be together forever. So we ought to start getting along here on earth. Our unity under our one Lord should overshadow our differences.

God's word commands and proclaims: "Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force. There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope given all of you by your call" (Eph 4:3-4).

Prayer:  Jesus, we pray with You that all believers in You will be one as You and the Father are One (Jn 17:21). May we repent of disunity now. Give us the unity of Pentecost.

Promise:  "Wisdom instructs her children and admonishes those who seek her." —Sir 4:11

Praise:  St. Polycarp advanced God's kingdom by serving as a bishop for many decades, and then paying the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom at age eighty-six.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010

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