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Monday, August 18, 2003

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St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Judges 2:11-19
Psalm 106:34-37, 39-40, 43-44
Matthew 19:16-22

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"A man came up to [Jesus] and said..." —Matthew 19:16

Talking with Jesus is an adventure. He will question our motives and be bluntly realistic and challenging while always respecting our dignity.

For example, a person asked Jesus: "Teacher, what good must I do to possess everlasting life?" (Mt 19:16) Jesus responded by disagreeing with the use of the word "good" (see Mk 10:17; Lk 18:18). We are not sure what the problem was, but Jesus may have been questioning the person's motives. Similarly, if someone came up to you and said: "Hey, good buddy," you may wonder whether he was selling something or had other ulterior motives.

Next, Jesus told the man to keep the commandments, and the man mistakenly responded: "Which ones?" (Mt 19:18) This was a stupid question. We are obviously responsible to keep all the commandments. However, Jesus did not put the man down and make him feel stupid.

Then Jesus probably surprised the man by mentioning first: "You shall not kill" (Mt 19:18). What if someone approached you and nicely but seriously said: "I hope you don't murder anyone today." Jesus suggested to the man that without Him he could do nothing good (see Jn 15:5) and without Him he could do anything bad.

Finally, Jesus challenged him to sell all his possessions (Mt 19:21). The man dropped out of the conversation and walked away sad (Mt 19:22). Will you keep talking with Jesus no matter what?

Prayer:  Father, make me docile to Your most challenging words.

Promise:  "The Lord raised up judges for them, He would be with the judge and save them from the power of their enemies as long as the judge lived; it was thus the Lord took pity on their distressful cries of affliction under their oppressors." —Jgs 2:18

Praise:  When challenged with widowhood, St. Jane Frances only formed an ever deeper devotion to her Lord.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard L. Klug, February 27, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2003