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Wednesday, March 14, 2001

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Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalm 31
Matthew 20:17-28

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"the greatest treason"?

"Let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets." —Jeremiah 18:18

Those who persecuted Jeremiah were very "religious." They were concerned about teachings from the priests, counsel from the wise, and messages from the prophets. James and John were also very "religious." Motivated by their mother, they were not seeking big salaries or many possessions. They just wanted to work for the Church by being Jesus' right-hand and left-hand men (Mt 20:21).

T.S. Eliot wrote in Murder in the Cathedral: "The greatest treason is to do the right thing for the wrong reason." Christians probably do more right things than any other group in the world. However, we are constantly tempted to do the right things with mixed motives. We love God, but not with our whole hearts (see Mt 22:37). We love the Church, the poor, and the sick, but our selfishness still influences us. We often control the sinful desires of the flesh, but we stop short of crucifying our "flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24). We aspire to humility, but are proud of such an aspiration.

Next Sunday throughout the world, we pray the "First Scrutiny" for the catechumens. Let us ask the Father to scrutinize and purify our hearts.

Prayer:  Father, make me single-hearted (Mt 5:8).

Promise:  "Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all." —Mt 20:26-27

Praise:  George prays to be cleansed from the sins he's not aware of committing (see Ps 19:13).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 9, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 18, 2000