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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

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St. Augustine

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Psalm 139
Matthew 23:23-26

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"i'd walk a mile for a camel"

"You strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!" —Matthew 23:24

Jesus accused the Pharisees of straining out the gnat and swallowing the camel. Elsewhere, Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Mt 19:24). Both times Jesus used the camel as a means to spotlight a ridiculous lifestyle.

Jesus castigated the Pharisees for traveling many miles to convert a person and then making this person into twice the devil that they previously were (Mt 23:15). Jesus tried to shock them into seeing that this effort is ridiculous. Why travel so far and work so hard to end up swallowing a camel?

People still walk miles to swallow camels today. For example, many ignore their spouse and children, slaving for decades to save money — only to lose their retirement in the stock market or in paying off the nursing home (Hg 1:6). Why spend your life to end up in dissatisfaction? (Is 55:2) Why work so hard to end up in hell? (Lk 12:16-21) It's hard to swallow!

How much better it is to let go and let God! (Ps 46:11). If we seek first the kingdom of God on His terms and let His will be done in us, the Father will provide all we need (Mt 6:33-34). "It is vain for you to rise early, or put off your rest, you that eat hard-earned bread, for He gives to His beloved in sleep" (Ps 127:2).

Prayer:  Father, I will spend the rest of my life devoted to Your will rather than on my own desires (1 Pt 4:2-3).

Promise:  "We drew courage from our God to preach His good tidings to you in the face of great opposition." —1 Thes 2:2

Praise:  St. Augustine gave up his mistress, his hedonism, and his useless philosophizing and found total fulfillment in serving his Lord.

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, March 14, 2007

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