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Friday, July 20, 2012

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St. Apollinarius

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8
Isaiah 38:10-12, 16
Matthew 12:1-8

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an over-time loss

"I will add fifteen years to your life." —Isaiah 38:5

God healed King Hezekiah of a terminal illness and gave him an additional fifteen years of life (Is 38:5). How did Hezekiah use this gift? Three years into his extra fifteen years, Hezekiah, who had been childless, fathered a son, Manasseh, who would succeed him as king of Judah, and continue the line which led to Jesus (Mt 1:10, 16). You would think that Hezekiah, who had been one of the few good and godly kings, would spend his remaining twelve years of life (2 Kgs 21:1) training young Manasseh in both the Jewish faith and in how to be a good king. Sadly, it seems that Hezekiah passed little on to his son. Manasseh was possibly the most evil king of Judah, and by the end of his fifty-five year reign, a culture of death had been entrenched in Judah.

What else did Hezekiah do with his final fifteen years of life? "Hezekiah...did not discharge his debt of gratitude, for he had become proud" (2 Chr 32:25). He pridefully aligned himself with Babylon and began the downfall of Israel (2 Kgs 20:12-19). He considered it a good thing that evil would fall on his son Manasseh and his other descendants instead of in his own lifetime (Is 39:8; 2 Kgs 20:17-19). "He built cities for himself" instead of teaching his son the faith (2 Chr 32:29).

Did Hezekiah fall into the trap of thinking that, since God spared him, he was in "good shape" with God and no longer needed to live in fear of the Lord? Did he become complacent and assume that Manasseh would just turn out well despite minimal fathering? Could we be just as complacent? "Do not grow lazy" (Heb 6:12).

Prayer:  Jesus, each day may I live as if You were returning tonight.

Promise:  "It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice." —Mt 12:7

Praise:  St. Apollinarius defended Christians to the emperor, and Christ to non-believers.

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

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2012

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