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Friday, December 6, 2002

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St. Nicholas

Isaiah 29:17-25
Psalm 27
Matthew 9:27-31

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gifted class

"This I seek..." —Psalm 27:4

Today is St. Nicholas' Day. St. Nicholas gave gifts that improved people's lives. Because of his giving, families were restored, people were rescued from sin, and towns were blessed. Likewise, you may be given a gift today. Will Jesus be better off because of how you receive your gift?

Before Jesus healed the blind men in today's gospel, they had faith (Mt 9:28). After they received sight from Jesus, they disobeyed His orders to keep the healing silent. Instead, the formerly blind men spread word of Jesus "through all that land" (Mt 9:31) before Jesus was ready for that to happen.

On another occasion, Jesus healed a leper (Mk 1:41) who also had humility and faith. Once healed, this leper likewise disobeyed Jesus' order to keep the healing silent (Mk 1:44). He went off and "spread the report abroad" with the result "that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly" (Mk 1:45). Jesus subsequently had to live in deserted places.

Like the folks above, we have faith. Will we also have a single-hearted love for Jesus? It's wonderful to benefit from the good gifts God gives. Those who love Jesus with all their heart (Lk 10:27), however, are more concerned with what Jesus gets out of a gift than with how they personally benefit. They ask: "Is Jesus pleased with the outcome of the gift He gave me? Will His kingdom grow as a result?"

Prayer:  Jesus, You have so many good gifts to give me. May I not be given these gifts until I am ready to receive them in a way that gives glory to You.

Promise:  "The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." —Is 29:19

Praise:  St. Nicholas' love and generosity is remembered and imitated even now, more than sixteen centuries after his death.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend David L. Zink, June 12, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2002