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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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Numbers 13:1-2, 25—14:1, 26-29, 34-35
Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23
Matthew 15:21-28

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"Forty years shall you suffer for your crimes." —Numbers 14:34

Today's eucharistic readings strongly show that faith makes the difference between life and death. A mother's "great faith" in Jesus (Mt 15:28) saved her daughter. The complete lack of faith of the Israelites, who had recently walked through the Red Sea on dry land, meant that they would die in the desert (Nm 14:29).

Did you know that the Lord considers it a crime (Nm 14:34) to lack faith in Him and discourage (Nm 13:32) others from having faith in Him? Faith is not an add-on for the Christian life; rather, "all depends on faith" (Rm 4:16).

The Israelites couldn't stop fixating on the height, weight, and walls of the Canaanite people (Nm 13:28-32). They completely forgot the recent sight of the stationary walls of water through which they walked at the Red Sea. We will never have faith until we stop looking at what surrounds us and start looking at the unseen God Who surrounds us (see Mt 28:20). We who believe in Jesus must constantly "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor 5:7). "Faith is...conviction about things we do not see" (Heb 11:1).

Repent of any faith-crimes you might have committed. It's a matter of life and death. Have faith in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved (Rm 10:9). But the one who commits the "crime" of not having faith in Him shall die in condemnation (see Jn 3:18; Mk 16:16). Repent! "Live by faith" (Heb 10:38).

Prayer:  Lord, increase my faith (Lk 17:5).

Promise:  "Jesus then said in reply, 'Woman, you have great faith! Your wish will come to pass.' " —Mt 15:28

Praise:  Georgia prayed with faith for her son who was serving in Afghanistan and was blessed with his safety.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011

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