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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

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Sts. Perpetua & Felicity

Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalm 31
Matthew 20:17-28

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"What is it you want?" —Matthew 20:21

Jeremiah wanted something from God that concerned an important religious matter. Jeremiah faithfully prophesied the hard message of repentance that God had charged him to deliver. The Israelites responded by deciding to kill Jeremiah, preferring false prophecy and lukewarm teaching from their favorite priests and prophets (Jer 18:18). Jeremiah was rightfully angry that his listeners preferred false teaching to God's truth. This matched God's desire. However, Jeremiah also wanted God to avenge him and punish the people (Jer 18:21-23). God didn't want this.

James and John wanted something from Jesus that concerned an important religious matter. They had laid down their lives to follow Jesus. When Jesus was to be crowned as King, they wanted to rule with Him always (Mk 10:37). This matched Jesus' desire, for Jesus also wanted them to rule with Him forever in heaven (Mt 19:28). However, James and John wanted an extra honor: to sit on thrones at Jesus' immediate right and left (Mt 20:21). This didn't match the Father's desire (Mt 20:23).

Many of you are holy disciples who have laid down your lives for Jesus. You are concerned with the same things as Jesus. Now Jesus challenges you about religious desires that don't match His. Bring them to Jesus and leave them in His hands. Take delight in the Lord alone, and He will give you the desires of your heart (see Ps 37:4, JB).

Prayer:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, change my heart. May I put away my desires and embrace Yours (Rm 13:14).

Promise:  "The Son of Man...has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give His own life as a ransom for the many." —Mt 20:28

Praise:  Sts. Perpetua and Felicity laid down their lives for Jesus, being martyred by being fed to wild animals. They would not renounce Jesus to save their lives, and won eternal life (Lk 9:24).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 2006 & September 18, 2006

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