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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36
Psalm 48:2-4, 10-11
Matthew 7:6, 12-14

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a soldier for christ

"That night the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all the corpses of the dead." —2 Kings 19:35

Traditionally, nations have waged war by acts of physical violence coupled with prayers to their gods for victory. This is how most of the battles of the Old Testament were waged (see 2 Kgs 19:17-18; 2 Kgs 3:26-27), and how almost all battles are still waged today.

Occasionally, a war was waged without any physical violence on the part of the winning army. Moses (Ex 14:14), Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 20:17), and Hezekiah fought such wars (2 Kgs 19:35). In these battles, although the winning army did not kill the enemy, nonetheless, the enemy was destroyed either by their own infighting, an angel, or God Himself.

In the New Testament, we have a radically different kind of warfare. This is perfectly expressed by Jesus' death on the cross. Jesus did not do any violence to His enemies. He was like a lamb led to the slaughter (see Is 53:7). Jesus did not even use His prerogative to command legions of angels to defeat His enemies (Mt 26:53). Rather, Jesus won the ultimate victory over Satan, sin, and violence by loving His enemies and letting them kill Him. Which kind of warfare do you believe in, B.C. or A.D., non-Christian or Christian?

Prayer:  Jesus, may I let You fight my battles Your way — the way of the cross.

Promise:  "Treat others the way you would have them treat you." —Mt 7:12

Praise:  When his wife died, George turned to the Lord and understood God's promise of eternal life.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2012

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