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Saturday, June 25, 2016

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Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19
Psalm 74:1-7, 20-21
Matthew 8:5-17

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"They did not lay bare your guilt, to avert your fate." —Lamentations 2:14

Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem as a dwelling place for the Lord. God was pleased and came to dwell in the Temple. "The Lord's glory filled the house of God" (2 Chr 5:14). During the next three-hundred years, Jerusalem was miraculously spared from attack on several occasions (e.g. 2 Kgs 19:35).

Eventually the people grew complacent and neglected the Lord's commands, falling into lifestyles of sin and injustice. Many "prophets" of the time fueled this lax attitude with "false and specious visions" and "misleading portents" (Lam 2:14). They falsely predicted divine protection rather than judgment and accountability for sin. In 587 B.C., the unthinkable occurred. Babylon besieged Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and the Lord did not intervene (2 Chr 36:19). The inhabitants of Jerusalem were killed or exiled. The temple was gone, and so, seemingly, was the Lord. All was unexpectedly lost (see Prv 29:1).

We want to hear about hope and security, but we also need to hear about our guilt (Lam 2:14). We must never grow weary of hearing about our propensity to sin and to backslide. "The things that happened to" the people of Jerusalem "serve as an example...as a warning to us" (1 Cor 10:11). Therefore, "let anyone who thinks he is standing upright watch out lest he fall!" (1 Cor 10:12) The sins of complacency and presumption lead straight to the shock of hell. Repent! Live in the fear of the Lord (Prv 9:10).

Prayer:  Jesus, may You find faith in me (Mt 8:10), not smugness.

Promise:  "To the centurion Jesus said, 'Go home. It shall be done because you trusted.' " —Mt 8:13

Praise:  It was the consistent, frequent homilies given by a priest who did not compromise the truth that helped Vera refrain from worldly ways and lukewarmness toward Jesus.

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, January 20, 2016

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