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Monday, August 20, 2007

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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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"The young man went away sad, for his possessions were many." —Matthew 19:22

American foreign missionaries customarily remark that Americans are much sadder than their Third World neighbors. Our elderly observe that people aren't as happy as they used to be. Many American cities face an unprecedented epidemic of teen suicides. Almost half our children grow up in broken homes. In many ways, we are a sad society. Like the young rich man, our possessions are many. We refuse to help the physically poor, and thus we have become spiritually poor. We have no joy, happiness, or fulfillment. We choose to walk away from Jesus rather than with Him (Mt 19:22).

Love of money is the root of these evils (1 Tm 6:10). We choose estrangement over engagement, possessions over people, lusts over love. We try to save our lives, so we lose them (Lk 9:24). We gain the whole world but lose our happiness and our souls (Lk 9:25). The young rich men and women who did not follow Jesus are now old rich men and women. The Lord, in His mercy, is giving them one last chance. Jesus says for the last time: "Go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor. You will then have treasure in heaven. Afterward come back and follow Me" (Mt 19:21).

Follow Jesus. "Now is the acceptable time!" (2 Cor 6:2)

Prayer:  Jesus, may I choose to be materially poor and thereby inherit the kingdom now (Mt 5:3).

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." —Jgs 2:18

Praise:  St. Bernard was so saddened by the schisms in the Church that he left his monastery to reunite Christians.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Men and Money on audio AV 88A-3 or video V-88A.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 14, 2007

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