Readings 20150206

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Do you ever feel haunted by a past failure or a guilty conscience? The Lord Jesus came to set us free from the oppression of sin and guilt. King Herod, the most powerful and wealthy man in Judea, had everything he wanted, except a clear conscience and peace with God. Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to rebuke Herod for his adulterous relationship with his brother’s wife, Herodias. John ended up in prison because of Herodias’ hatred and jealousy. Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded. Now Herod’s conscience is pricked when he hears that some think that the Baptist has risen.
When Herod heard the fame of Jesus he supposed that John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, had returned from the dead. Unfortunately for Herod, he could not rid himself of sin by ridding himself of the man who confronted him with his sin. Herod was a weak man. He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right. Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice. The Lord gives grace to the humble, to those who acknowledge their sins and who seek God’s mercy and pardon. His grace and pardon not only frees us from a guilty conscience, it enables us to pursue holiness in thought and action as well. God’s grace enables us to fight fear with faith and to overcome the temptation to compromise goodness and truth with wrongdoing and falsehood.

John Chrysostom describes John’s death as a crown:

In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment? Who are those he did not set back on their feet – provided they had a penitent disposition – because of what he spoke, because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims in our own day – the same message he preached while he was living. Therefore, do not say: “Why was John allowed to die?” For what occurred was not a death, but a crown, not an end, but the beginning of a greater life. Learn to think and live like a Christian. You will not only remain unharmed by these events, but will reap the greatest benefits.(ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD 22.10)
Do you rely on God’s grace and help to choose his way of holiness and to reject whatever would compromise your faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ?
“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son that I may imitate him in word and deed. Help me to live the Gospel faithfully and give me the strength and courage I need to not shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
PURE COURAGE

“John had told Herod, ‘It is not right.’ ” —Mark 6:18
St. John the Baptizer had the love and courage to tell Herod: “It is not right for you to live with your brother’s wife” (Mk 6:18). The writer of the book of Hebrews had the love and courage to clearly and bluntly teach: “Let marriage be honored in every way and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers” (Heb 13:4). Paul spoke the truth in love (Eph 4:15) when he repeatedly, clearly, and emphatically proclaimed: “Make no mistake about this: no fornicator, no unclean or lustful person — in effect an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with worthless arguments. These are sins that bring God’s wrath down on the disobedient; therefore have nothing to do with them” (Eph 5:5-7; see also 1 Cor 6:9ff; Gal 5:21; Rm 1:18ff; 1 Thes 4:7-8). Jesus, the Truth (Jn 14:6) and Love Himself (1 Jn 4:16), taught: “What I say to you is: anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts. If your right eye is your trouble, gouge it out and throw it away!” (Mt 5:28-29)

If we are disciples of Jesus and truly love Him and His people, we will be pure and call others to purity. If we don’t tell the Herods of the world that their adulteries and sexual sins are not right, we will quietly acquiesce to the murders, brutalities, and beheadings that they commit. If we don’t stand up for purity, we won’t stand up for life. If we don’t stand up for purity, we won’t stand up.

Be pure. Lose your life rather than your soul. Stand up for purity.

Prayer: Father, grace me with love, courage, and purity. Promise: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” —Heb 13:8 Praise: One of the Japanese martyrs, St. Philip of Jesus, had been a rambunctious youth. A family friend declared that Philip’s chances of becoming a saint were as good as the dried-up fig tree in his garden sprouting leaves. On the day young Philip was martyred, the withered tree burst forth with abundant leaves.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

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