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First Friday of Passiontide

March 26, 2010

Blessed Friday!

Lord, grant us Your forgiveness,
and set us free from our enslavement to sin.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Readings:
Jeremiah 20:10-13 (Jeremiah is threatened, but he trusts God to protect him)
Psalm 18:2-7 “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice”
+John 10:31-42 (the Jews want to kill Jesus for claiming to be God)

“Praised be the Lord, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies” (Psalm 18:4)

This is no fair-weather optimism. The enemies in question are closing in…

“Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!”
(Jeremiah 20:10)

“Then some of the Jews again reached for rocks to stone Him…
they again tried to arrest Him” (John 10: 31, 39)

How can Jesus and Jeremiah be so calm, so confident,
in the midst of such ominous threats?!
They can’t be in denial.
Their descriptions of betrayal and repeated predictions of death
are too vivid for that (Jeremiah 20:10, Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:18-19, etc.)
Yet fear has no hold on them.
It cannot turn them aside from the mission God has entrusted to them.
Jeremiah continues to warn his people against their evil ways (Jeremiah 21ff).
Jesus continues to call His enemies to saving faith (John 10:27-28).

This just isn’t natural!

That’s the point. We weren’t made for the purely natural.
Without the divine life of God vitalizing our souls we cannot be who we were created to be!
The only reason God could say “Be not afraid” so many times
(Deuteronomy 1:29, 7:18, Matthew 14:27, 17:7, 28:10, John 14:27, and many more)
was that He Himself gives us the power to overcome fear.

That power is love.
“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him…
perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:16, 18)
and “Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:8).

Jeremiah loved his rebellious compatriots.
“Must good be repaid by evil, that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before You to speak in their behalf,
to turn away Your wrath from them” (Jeremiah 18:20).

Jesus loved us all. He who commanded us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27)
set the example by loving His (Mathew 5:45, Luke 22:47-51, 23:34, etc.).

This is supernatural love, divine life that cannot be defeated.
Death cannot hold it! (see Acts 2:24)

“For I am certain that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor principalities,
neither the present nor the future nor powers,
neither height nor depth nor any other creature,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39)

That’s where the safety comes from.
That’s where confidence is born.

Though the breakers of death surge around us,
the destroying floods overwhelm us,
though the cords of the nether world enmesh us
and the snares of death overtake us (Psalm 18:5-6),
yet “the Lord of Hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold” (Psalm 46:8).

“Praised be the Lord, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies” (Psalm 18:4)

May we, like Jesus and Jeremiah, find confidence in the midst of terrors
through the power of divine love.

Yours on the trail of supernatural confidence,

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