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Thursday, May 19, 2005

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Sirach 5:1-8
Psalm 1
Mark 9:41-50

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famous last words

"Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart." —Sirach 5:2

How many times have we said: "No problem," "I have the power," "Everything's under control," "Who can prevail against me?" (see Sir 5:1, 3) Those are famous last words. We don't have it together, and we never will.

"You have no idea what kind of life will be yours tomorrow. You are a vapor that appears briefly and vanishes. Instead of saying, 'If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that,' all you can do is make arrogant and pretentious claims" (Jas 4:14-16).

Sometimes we also say: "I got away with it," "I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?", "Great is His mercy; my many sins He will forgive" (see Sir 5:4, 6). But let's not be presumptuous. "Make no mistake about it, no one makes a fool of God!" (Gal 6:7) Jesus is serious about sin; repentance is the only alternative to eternal punishment. Therefore, "delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day" (Sir 5:8).

Famous last words often result in tragedy. But we have some truly famous last words from Jesus. "Well done," good and faithful servant. "Come, share your Master's joy" (Mt 25:21).  May these be God's last words to you on earth.

Prayer:  Father, may I not be presumptuous or unrealistic about life, love, sin, and damnation.

Promise:  "Any man who gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ will not, I assure you, go without his reward." —Mk 9:41

Praise:  George prays daily, several times a day, for God's blessing on his family.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Am I Going to Heaven? on audio AV 54-3 or video V-54.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2004

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