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Tuesday, June 18, 2002

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1 Kings 21:17-29
Psalm 51
Matthew 5:43-48

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let me inconvenience you

"Indeed, no one gave himself up to the doing of evil in the sight of the Lord as did Ahab, urged on by his wife Jezebel. He became completely abominable by following idols." —1 Kings 21:25-26

Ahab and Jezebel had Naboth murdered to get his vineyard. Their motive was not money, prestige, or power; rather, it was sheer convenience. Because Naboth's vineyard was next to Ahab and Jezebel's house (1 Kgs 21:2), it was convenient for Ahab to have his vegetable garden there. In our high-tech society, we too love and sometimes even worship the idol of convenience. This often leads to depression (see 1 Kgs 21:4), violence, and self-destruction (see 1 Kgs 21:22ff).

The Christian life is not very convenient. It is not convenient to deny ourselves, take up our daily crosses (see Lk 9:23), love and forgive our enemies (see Mt 5:44), or wash the feet of the disciples (see Jn 13:5). Because the cross is the essence of the Christian life and the cross is never convenient, the Christian life is not convenient. Rather, it is sacrifice and love.

Because the Christian life and convenience are often not compatible, we often face the decision to choose convenience or Christ (see Mt 7:13-14). If we choose Christ, we will be living in love and on the way to living forever in heaven. If we choose convenience, comfort, and selfishness, this will backfire on us. If we don't repent, we will spend eternity in the most inconvenient place: hell. Therefore, choose Jesus, the cross, and love. Forget convenience.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to free me from the prison of selfishness, pettiness, and pleasure-seeking.

Promise:  "Have mercy on me, O God, in Your goodness; in the greatness of Your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me." —Ps 51:3-4

Praise:  Though it is very inconvenient for Martha to take her elderly neighbor to doctor's appointments, she does so cheerfully, taking her four small children with her.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 4, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 10, 2001