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Friday, July 4, 1997

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St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Genesis 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67
Psalm 106
Matthew 9:9-13

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living and dying by faith

"She died." —Genesis 23:2

Sarah died at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven (Gn 23:1). Abraham, her husband, died thirty-eight years later at the age of one hundred and seventy-five (Gn 25:7). God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of nations and receive the promised land. When Abraham died, he owned a few feet of the promised land which he purchased for Sarah's burial plot (see Gn 23:19). At his death, Abraham had only two grandchildren from Isaac, the only son from his marriage with Sarah. At Abraham's death, God's promises to Him seemed quite unfulfilled. He died an apparent failure who had wasted his life on a hundred-year wild goose chase.

Jesus died at about the age of thirty-three. He revealed that He was the Savior of the world, the Lord of lords, and God Himself. Hardly anyone believed Him. Even His disciples abandoned Him to be executed on a cross. Jesus died an apparent failure.

The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed (Mt 13:31). It begins very small. It will eventually become a large bush, although that may occur years after your death. You may see only the tiniest fulfillment of God's promises and die an apparent failure. You will have to live by faith (2 Cor 5:7) and die by faith (Heb 11:21-22). At your death, you may not see the fruit of your life. Your only assurance may be that you loved the Lord. Love, repent, live, die, and believe.

Prayer:  Father, on this Independence Day, we pray that the USA not lose its soul. May it be under Your lordship.

Promise:  Jesus "said to him, 'Follow Me.' Matthew got up and followed Him." —Mt 9:9

Praise:  Elizabeth prayed forty-one years for her adulterous, neglectful husband. God answered her prayers as he repented on his deathbed.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, November 12, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 10, 1996