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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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St. Stephen of Hungary

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 66:1-3, 5, 8, 16-17
Matthew 18:15-20

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end-times talk

"I have let you feast your eyes upon it, but you shall not cross over." —Deuteronomy 34:4

In American culture, movies and novels typically conclude with a happy ending. After a long struggle, the author lets justice prevail and the good guys triumph.

God, the Author of Life (Acts 3:15), is also into happy endings. His happy ending is "immeasurably more than we ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20) — "life on high in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:14). Yet it is sometimes difficult to resist the temptation to question God's handling of endings in this earthly life.

Moses' ending seems tragic. He endured forty years of revolt and grumbling, faithfully shepherding the Israelites to the border of the Promised Land. Yet God refused to allow him to enter the land (Dt 34:4). Without Moses' demise, however, the Israelites might never have followed Joshua as their new leader. If Moses had a "good ending" in the Promised Land, he might have then died without publicly commissioning Joshua, leaving Israel weak and in disarray.

Our heritage is not so much the final outcome, but rather the day-to-day privilege of having God present in our midst (Mt 18:20). Each day in God's service is its own reward (Is 49:4). If we daily focus on Jesus present with us, Jesus will be "the End" for us (Rv 22:13). Any circumstantial worldly ending will not leave us disappointed (Rm 5:5), for our hopes lie firmly in Jesus, the Lord of the End. "Let this, then, be the end" (2 Mc 15:39).

Prayer:  Father, do in me whatever You must in order to do through me whatever You will.

Promise:  "Again I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by My Father in heaven." —Mt 18:19

Praise:  St. Stephen, King of Hungary, was a devout Catholic who insisted on observance of Christian customs and whose kingdom was a place of peace.

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, February 27, 2017

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