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Thursday, June 16, 2011

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2 Corinthians 11:1-11
Psalm 111:1-4, 7-8
Matthew 6:7-15

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studying for the final exam

"Subject us not to the trial." —Matthew 6:13

The phrase in the Our Father that we commonly say, "Lead us not into temptation," can also be translated in the Greek as "Do not subject us to the final test" (see Mt 6:13, RNAB). The final test is likely a definitive test of our faith. It may involve persecution, great pressure to deny Jesus and abandon our faith, or some distress or fear which tests our faith.

Jesus said that even the chosen could not withstand the great time of trial if the Father hadn't mercifully shortened the days (Mk 13:20; Mt 24:22). It's not easy to determine whether Jesus was referring to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. or a persecution yet to come, or both. Regardless, Jesus has made it clear that the one who perseveres to the end will be saved (Lk 21:19). The clear implication is that it's possible that we might not pass the test, and might not be saved.

We must not grow apathetic or complacent. Instead, we must pray always for final perseverance and beg the Father to subject us not to the trial (Mt 6:13). The prospect of an overwhelming trial is frightening, but Jesus tells us: "Do not live in fear, little flock" (Lk 12:32; see also Mk 5:36). The good news is that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Rm 10:13). Call to Jesus. There is no other name by which we may be saved (Acts 4:12). To avoid our being overcome by fear of the intensity of the trial, Jesus continually reminds us of His Second Coming. We must fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 3:1), hold our heads high (Lk 21:28), and cry out: "Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!" (see Rv 22:20)

Prayer:  Jesus, my Savior, save us all. "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Promise:  "Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." —Mt 6:8

Praise:  Once Patrick took the gospel to heart, he lost his complacency and his fear.

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 1, 2011

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