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Tuesday, August 13, 2002

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St. Pontian
St. Hippolytus

Ezekiel 2:8—3:4
Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

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"I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for Your commands." —Psalm 119:131

I recall an occasion years ago when my young son was on one side of a street and I was on the other. I had been gradually teaching my son the skills needed to cross a street without clinging to me for blind guidance. Although there was little danger in the situation when viewed through an adult's eyes, I could easily sense the fear in his eyes. He focused intently on my every word. "First, look to the left...then to the right. Are any cars coming? Good, now run straight to me." My little son obeyed each command exactly, just as if his life depended on it. He yearned for my commands (Ps 119:131) because he knew his father's word meant safety and success.

Surely this is what Jesus has in mind when He says: "Unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God" (Mt 18:3). If we don't follow God's commands, it would be as if my young son suddenly decided he could cross the street without his daddy's help, thank you. Not heeding God's commands exposes us to grave dangers. God's commands are meant for our welfare, not for our harm (Mt 18:14; Jer 29:11). God tells us, as He told the prophet Ezekiel: "Obey Me when I speak to you" (Ez 2:8).

Prayer:  Father, "Your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors" (Ps 119:24).

Promise:  "Whoever makes himself lowly, becoming like this child, is of greatest importance in that heavenly reign." —Mt 18:4

Praise:  St. Hippolytus, once a heretic, was reconciled to the Church and became a defender of the faith, writing a work called A Refutation of All Heresies. He gave his life to God as a martyr.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002