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Saturday, August 28, 2010

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St. Augustine


1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Psalm 33:12-13, 18-21
Matthew 25:14-30

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"out of fear" (mt 25:25)

" 'My lord,' he said, 'you let me have five thousand.' " —Matthew 25:20

The servant who received the five thousand silver pieces feared his master the right way. This healthy fear is evident because upon receiving what his master entrusted to him, he "immediately" went to work on his master's behalf (Mt 25:16). This servant had a spirit of the "fear of the Lord" and this fear caused him to "delight" (Is 11:2, 3) to receive the master's gifts and respond with "industrious and reliable" service (Mt 25:21).

The servant who received the one thousand silver pieces feared his master the wrong way. This fear is evident because upon receiving what his master entrusted to him, he was afraid to make a mistake "out of fear" of being punished (Mt 25:25). This servant had a fear that was self-centered, not master-centered.

If God calls us to a task, He provides the grace to perform the task. Because of challenging Scriptures like these, we may be tempted to "fear" to succeed in God's work since He has made it clear that success leads to even greater responsibilities (Mt 25:21). This "fear is useless. What is needed is trust" (Mk 5:36). Jesus makes it absolutely clear that greater responsibilities are first accompanied by greater grace (e.g. Mt 25:29). The Lord never sends anyone out without first empowering and equipping them for His service. Jesus trusts us with great gifts and great tasks. We can respond to the Lord by joyfully and fearfully exclaiming, "You entrusted me" (Mt 25:22), or by sullenly and fearfully saying, "You burdened me" (see Mal 1:13). Choose the right fear.

Prayer:  Father, may I make "even greater progress" in serving and pleasing You (1 Thes 4:10).

Promise:  "Come, share your Master's joy!" —Mt 25:21

Praise:  St. Augustine chose to fear God alone. He cried out, "Too late have I loved You, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new."

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

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2010

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