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Friday, July 21, 2006

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St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8
Isaiah 38:10-12, 16
Matthew 12:1-8

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"now and at the hour of our death"

"You are about to die." —Isaiah 38:1

God told Hezekiah, one of the few great kings of Judah, that he was about to die and should put his life in order (Is 38:1). Hezekiah had served God faithfully and wholeheartedly for years, but his life still wasn't in order. God knew that Hezekiah was becoming proud (see 2 Chr 32:25), so He tested "him, that He might know all that was in his heart" (2 Chr 32:31).

Sadly, Hezekiah flunked the test. When God told Hezekiah that he was about to die, Hezekiah apparently had no sons. As king of Judah, one of Hezekiah's greatest concerns should have been the continuation of the royal line of David as the fulfillment of prophecy (see 2 Sm 7:16). Yet when told of his impending death, Hezekiah prays only for his own selfish concerns. This is understandable, but it's not the response God wanted.

In His mercy, God granted Hezekiah an extra fifteen years of life. Hezekiah did have a son, Manasseh, in those extra years, but taught him nothing of God. The godless Manasseh became the most wicked king Judah ever had (see 2 Kgs 21:6, 11, 16). In the end, Hezekiah was glad to hear that his people would be conquered as long as it didn't happen during his life (2 Kgs 20:16-19).

Unless Jesus returns shortly, every one of us will someday be in the same position as King Hezekiah. At the hour of our death, will we imitate Jesus and pray that God's will be done (Mt 26:42), or will we pray like Hezekiah? Live every day as if it were your last day on earth. "Put your house in order" (Is 38:1).

Prayer:  Father, may I always remember my final day on earth so that I will never sin (Sir 7:36). Your will be done in my life.

Promise:  "The Son of Man is indeed Lord of the sabbath." —Mt 12:8

Praise:  St. Lawrence helped put God's house in order by using his giftedness to speak eight different languages to spread God's Word.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2005

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