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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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St. John Mary Vianney

Numbers 12:1-13
Psalm 51:3-7, 12-13
Matthew 14:22-36

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sibling rivalry

"Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses." —Numbers 12:1

Miriam and Aaron circulated amongst the Israelites encamped in the desert, and spoke to them against Moses, their own blood brother! To get welcomed into each Israelite tent, they used as their opening line a complaint that Moses married a foreigner, their own sister-in-law. However, their main problem was jealousy. Little brother Moses, by far the meekest man on earth (Nm 12:3), had been elevated by God to a status above his older siblings.

Jesus Himself was accused by His brother Jews, whose leaders handed Him over to the Romans out of jealousy (Mt 27:18). Jesus warned us not to be surprised if our own siblings turn us in for being His follower (Mt 10:21, 36).

In the New Covenant, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the family of God (1 Cor 12:13; Mk 3:35). The early Church, though not without problems, understood well that they must never be jealous of their leaders, because that leader was a brother in Christ. Throughout the Gospels and Acts, Peter's place of leadership is affirmed and supported, and never undermined — even though all were keenly aware of Peter's failings. Even in the Old Testament, David would not be jealous of or harm King Saul, his archenemy, for he would not attack the Lord's anointed leader (1 Sm 24:7).

How often do we by our attitudes, speech, body language, and actions undermine our parish leaders or our parish priest? Repent of jealousy and a lack of faith. Repent of having more faith in your ability to manipulate your leaders than you have in God's ability to deal with His chosen leaders.

Prayer:  Father, may disciples act in such a way that Church leaders will fulfill their task with joy rather than sorrow (Heb 13:17).

Promise:  "It is I. Do not be afraid!" —Mt 14:27

Praise:  In his meekness, St. John was used by God in miraculous and life-changing ways. He spent dozens of hours weekly reconciling God and man, just as Jesus did.

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

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 11, 2009

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