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Monday, June 15, 1998

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1 Kings 21:1-16
Psalm 5
Matthew 5:38-42

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our christian heritage: not for sale

"I will not give you my ancestral heritage." —1 Kings 21:4

Although Naboth was offered by King Ahab a better vineyard in exchange for his family's vineyard (1 Kgs 21:2), Naboth refused Ahab's offer. " 'The Lord forbid,' Naboth answered him, 'that I should give you my ancestral heritage' " (1 Kgs 21:3). Naboth was eventually stoned to death because he would not part with his ancestral heritage (1 Kgs 21:13). In contrast to Naboth, Esau sold not only his ancestral heritage but his birthright for a bowl of red stew (Gn 25:30ff). "Esau cared little for his birthright" (Gn 25:34).

Our heritage and birthright are much more than pieces of property. Our Christian heritage includes divine revelation through the official teachings of the Church, especially in the Bible. Our heritage is the truth of God's word, His power manifested in the sacraments, and His love flowing through the body of Christ, the Church.

To preserve and deepen this heritage, we will certainly have to sacrifice. We may even have to give our lives. So many Christians don't know the truths of their faith. Many are Biblically illiterate, unappreciative of the Lord's awesome sacramental presence and power, and trapped in the isolated individualism of our "culture of death." Many of us have sold our birthright and heritage for next to nothing.

Jesus has paid the price of our heritage with His blood. He commands us: "Wake up, and strengthen what remains before it dies" (Rv 3:2). Sacrifice and die to preserve our heritage in Christ.

Prayer:  Father, I will "fight hard for the faith delivered once for all to the saints" (Jude 3).

Promise:  "What I say to you is: offer no resistance to injury. When a person strikes you on the right cheek, turn and offer him the other." —Mt 5:39

Praise:  Robert refused a promotion that would have required him to spend much more time away from his family.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 29, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 2, 1997