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Thursday, June 30, 2016

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First Martyrs of Rome

Amos 7:10-17
Psalm 19:8-11
Matthew 9:1-8

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"Have courage, son." —Matthew 9:2

The first words Jesus said to the paralyzed man were: "Have courage, son." We need courage to be freed from the paralysis of sin and fear. We should be like Amos, who refused to be intimidated, stampeded out of town, or manipulated by Amaziah (see Am 7:12ff). We need to be like Jesus, Who, when accused of blasphemy and thereby threatened with execution, stood His ground (see Mt 9:4ff).

However, we have all been like Peter, who let himself become paralyzed by fear and then denied Christ three times (see Lk 22:57-60). By the Spirit, we can also be like Peter after he repented. We can stand up under any circumstances, even before our own families or thousands of people, and witness for Jesus (see Acts 2:14).

The Lord will give us the power to be like Him, to be so courageous that we will even die rather than give in to the pressure to sin, deny Him, or not witness for Him. We become courageous by the power of the Holy Spirit, for "the Spirit God has given us is no cowardly Spirit, but rather One that makes us strong, loving, and wise" (2 Tm 1:7). Let's say to each other: "Pray for me that God may put His word on my lips, that I may courageously make known the mystery of the gospel...pray that I may have courage to proclaim it as I ought" (Eph 6:19-20).

Jesus is saying to us: "Have courage, sons and daughters" (see Mt 9:2). Repent and receive the Spirit of courage.

Prayer:  Father, may I be courageous in situations where I have previously been cowardly.

Promise:  " 'To help you realize that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins' — He then said to the paralyzed man — 'Stand up! Roll up your mat, and go home.' The man stood up." —Mt 9:6-7

Praise:  The First Martyrs of Rome have inspired centuries of Christians by their God-given faithfulness.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 20, 2016

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