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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
Matthew 5:17-19

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living now in the last and greatest dimension

"Whoever fulfills and teaches these commandments shall be great in the kingdom of God." —Matthew 5:19

The Lord in the Old Covenant commanded His people to obey 613 commandments. Of course, they were unable to obey them. In the New Covenant, the Lord has much higher standards. We must obey not only the smallest part of the letter of the Law (see Mt 5:18) but also its spirit (2 Cor 3:6). We must obey not only the Ten Commandments but also the Beatitudes. Moreover, Jesus forbids some acts which were previously allowed, such as anger, divorce, swearing oaths, retaliation, and hating enemies (see Mt 5:21ff). If necessary, we are to resist temptations to disobey by plucking out our eyes, cutting off our hands, or even laying down our lives (see Mt 5:29-30).

If you are a "do-it-yourselfer," Jesus' extreme demands are very disturbing. How can you do it? But if you are like Mary and know that life is "letting it be done" (see Lk 1:38) rather than "doing it yourself," then you are excited to be taken by Jesus into a new dimension of grace, miracles, and mystery. The most important aspects of life, including death, are beyond our merely human capacities. We need Jesus to take us into the realm of the supernatural. Why not start now in living the miraculous grace of our Baptism? Let Jesus do the impossible in you.

Prayer:  Father, in this Lent teach me the "radical newness" of Baptism (see Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People, Pope St. John Paul II, 10).

Promise:  "What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon Him?" —Dt 4:7

Praise:  St. Cyril was Bishop of Jerusalem during the Fourth Century. He fostered the development of the holy city as a pilgrimage center for all Christendom. Twice he returned from exile to serve his diocese of Jerusalem.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 8, 2019

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