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Monday, May 24, 1999

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Sirach 17:19-27
Psalm 32
Mark 10:17-27

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saving face

"You know the commandments." —Mark 10:19

The man in today's gospel reading told Jesus that he had kept the commandments since his childhood (Mk 10:20). So Jesus gave him five more commandments: go, sell, give, come, and follow (Mk 10:21).

The man refused to obey these commandments. Immediately, his face expressed his rebellion. The verse describing his reaction can be translated: his "face fell" (Mk 10:22). Some of the connotations of the Greek word are: the man glowered; his face became overcast, expressing even tinges of hatred.

To obey the Lord is delightful (Ps 40:9). To disobey the Lord is hateful, depressing, and sad (see Mk 10:22). To obey God's will is our food, nourishment, and fulfillment (Jn 4:34). To disobey God's will is emptiness and desolation. To obey the Lord is to enter into the Lord's love and intimacy (see Jn 15:10; Mk 3:35). To disobey the Lord is to become alienated and isolated into an everlasting hell of narcissistic selfishness.

Let us follow Jesus by obeying Him even to death on the cross (Phil 2:8). Then we will be exalted with Him forever.

Prayer:  Father, on this day after Pentecost, may I learn obedience from what I suffer (Heb 5:8).

Promise:  "With God all things are possible." —Mk 10:27

Praise:  Jesus delivered Mike from a compulsion to use pornography. He now attends daily Mass. His thoughts are now "wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise" (Phil 4:8).

Reference:  (For more teaching on this subject, order our leaflet, Obedience School.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, October 9, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 17, 1998