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Monday, December 16, 1996

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Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17
Psalm 25
Matthew 21:23-27

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a free christmas present

"When he (Balaam) raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe, the spirit of God came upon him, and he gave voice to his oracle." —Numbers 24:2-3

Balaam was a man of great spiritual powers. That's why Balak sent two deputations of princes to persuade Balaam to curse the Israelites (Nm 22:5ff). Balaam described himself as "the man whose eye is true, the utterance of one who hears what God says, and knows what the Most High knows, of one who sees what the Almighty sees, enraptured, and with eyes unveiled" (Nm 24:3-4, 15-16).

Although Balaam was exceptionally gifted by God and gave one of the greatest prophecies of all time (see Nm 24:17), he is considered a villain in the New Testament (see Jude 11; Rv 2:14). His great spiritual gifts were sabotaged, for "he was a man attracted to dishonest gain" (2 Pt 2:15).

"The love of money is the root of all evil. Some men in their passion for it have strayed from the faith, and have come to grief amid great pain" (1 Tm 6:10). Very few people admit that they love money. Most people, however, will recognize they are not perfect, and sometimes sin and do evil. Because the love of money is the root of all evil, and because we have done evil, we must therefore love money and be on the road "to ruin and destruction," unless we repent (see 1 Tm 6:9).

Christmas is often the time when our love of money and what money can buy (see 1 Jn 2:15) surfaces. Christmas is an opportunity to see we are trapped (1 Tm 6:9). Christmas is the time for us to repent, make Jesus our Wealth (Phil 3:8), and get freed from the trap. Go free this Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, may I love You with all my heart and love money with none of my heart.

Promise:  "Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me Your paths, guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior." —Ps 25:4-5

Praise:  Counting the friendship as worth more than money, Thomas forgave the loan his friend had promised to pay.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, June 20, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 1996