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Thursday, March 30, 2000

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Jeremiah 7:23-28
Psalm 95
Luke 11:14-23

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midterm exam

"They tested Me though they had seen My works." —Psalm 95:9

At the midpoint of this season of Lent, today's Mass readings focus on testing. The Israelites tested God in the desert (Ps 95:9) with their grumbling. Some people, "to test (Jesus), were demanding of Him a sign from heaven" (Lk 11:16). Testing God is a dangerous and arrogant thing to do. Ananias and Sapphira wound up dead after their "scheme to put the Spirit of the Lord to test" (Acts 5:9).

God is "the Tester of our hearts" (1 Thes 2:4), and we are the students. He uses our trials "to test (us) by affliction and find out whether or not it was (our) intention to keep His commandments" (Dt 8:2). For example, God put Abraham to the test (Gn 22:1). "Abraham, when put to the test" (Heb 11:17), was "ready" (Gn 22:1). He passed his exam with flying colors because he answered the test "by faith" (Heb 11:17). God even tested His own Son. Jesus "was tested through what He suffered" and so "He is able to help" us pass our test (Heb 2:18).

Our tests from God are more difficult and important than those of any professor. Getting ready to pass them can seem overwhelming. However, "no test has been sent you that does not come to all men. Besides, God keeps His promise. He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test He will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor 10:13).

"Today, if you should hear His voice, harden not your hearts as...in the day of testing in the desert, when your fathers tested and tried" God (Heb 3:8-9). Instead, "test yourselves to see whether you are living in faith" (2 Cor 13:5).

Prayer:  Father, grace me to prepare for the tests You give me by studying Your word daily (Acts 17:11).

Promise:  "I have sent you untiringly all My servants the prophets." —Jer 7:25

Praise:  Diana, the daughter of a Baptist preacher, became a Catholic because of her deep desire to go to Confession.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, July 28, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 1999