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Monday, August 20, 2001

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St. Bernard

Judges 2:11-19
Psalm 106:34-37, 39-40, 43-44
Matthew 19:16-22

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will you eat humble pie?

"A man came up to Him and said, 'Teacher, what good must I do to possess everlasting life?' He answered, 'Why do you question Me about what is good?' " —Matthew 19:16-17

Jesus criticized the man for asking Him about what is good. After criticizing the man, Jesus told him to obey the commandments (Mt 19:17). The first commandment Jesus brought up was: "You shall not kill" (Mt 19:18). Jesus implied that the man was a potential killer. Of course, we all are potential killers. But we don't often mention this on first meeting someone because it could be taken as an insult.

After Jesus criticized the man and came close to insulting him, He told the man to sell his possessions. "Hearing these words, the young man went away sad, for his possessions were many" (Mt 19:22).

What was the rich man's downfall? Possibly, he was proud. Jesus' critical, challenging responses to him may have been Jesus' way of calling the rich man to humility. The Lord commands: "Tell those who are rich in this world's goods not to be proud" (1 Tm 6:17). Many people gain possessions not primarily because of greed but because of "the pride of life" (1 Jn 2:16, KJV).

Only the humble enter God's kingdom (see Zep 3:12; Mt 5:5). Wealth and possessions can be symptoms of pride, which can be the way to hell. Humble yourself (Mt 23:12).

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to teach me to be gentle and humble of heart (Mt 11:29).

Promise:  "Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, He would be with the judge and save them from the power of their enemies as long as the judge lived; it was thus the Lord took pity on their distressful cries of affliction." —Jgs 2:18

Praise:  St. Bernard wrote: "It is true that the creature loves less because she is less, but if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, February 13, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 20, 2001