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Friday, August 1, 1997

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St. Alphonsus Liguori

Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
Psalm 81
Matthew 13:54-58

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"He did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith." —Matthew 13:58

The people of Jesus' native place lacked faith in Him (Mt 13:54ff). Because of their lack of receptivity, Jesus did not work many miracles there.

This pattern is being repeated today. In our secular humanistic culture, many people have a crisis of faith. Under these circumstances, they may deprive themselves of seeing the power and glory of God in their lives. Without faith in Jesus, we live half-lives instead of abundant lives (see Jn 10:10). Our lives are only shadows of what they could be.

Jesus has mercy on those who are lacking faith. He intervenes by visiting them and giving them another opportunity to live life to the full. He gives them grace to have faith. He gives them the opportunity to be saved from faithlessness and its effects.

Jesus may be visiting you now or very soon. You must have faith in Him or die the second death (Rv 2:11) of everlasting self-deprivation from His love. "All depends on faith, everything is grace" (Rm 4:16). The Lord is helping you to have faith. Cry out: "I do believe! Help my lack of faith" (Mk 9:24, our transl).

Prayer:  Father, may my faith move mountains (Mt 17:20) and not vice versa.

Promise:  "Take up a melody, and sound the timbrel, the pleasant harp and the lyre." —Ps 81:3

Praise:  Alphonsus was a highly educated theologian who was a prolific writer. Yet he insisted on clear, simple preaching. He once said: "I have never preached a sermon which the poorest old woman in the congregation could not understand."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 1997