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Friday, August 9, 2019

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St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Deuteronomy 4:32-40
Psalm 77:12-16, 21
Matthew 16:24-28

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on the verge

"You led Your people like a flock." —Psalm 77:21

In today's first eucharistic reading, Moses has led the Israelites through the desert for forty years. The people are now on the verge of entering into the Promised Land. They're so close to reaching their long-awaited goal that they can almost taste it. Before crossing into the land, Moses stops the people on the verge and has them recall what God has done for them. Through a long discourse that comprises the entire book of Deuteronomy, Moses pauses and reminds his people that it's more important to possess the God of the promises than it is to possess the fruits of the fulfillment of His promises.

Jesus pauses before the final leg of His journey to Jerusalem and Calvary. On the verge of reaching the end of His journey, He calls a time-out and says to His disciples (and to us): "Are you really going to follow Me or not? (see Mt 16:24) Are you looking for what I can give you? Or are you looking to follow Me out of love regardless of what I give you?" (see Mt 16:25-26)

Are you on the verge? Perhaps you're about to accept a new job, move into a new town, start a new school year, get married, etc. Take some time today and pause. Stop. Be still (Ps 46:11). What do you need to change in your life to be a more faithful disciple? Make the change now, while you're on the verge. Then move forward, follow Jesus, and carry your cross into the rest of your life.

Prayer:  Father, whether I reach the place of promise or spend my life in dire straits, I will seek You above any temporal blessings. Keep me faithful to Your teaching and never let me be parted from You.

Promise:  "You must now know, and fix in your heart, that the Lord is God...and that there is no other." —Dt 4:39

Praise:  Edith Stein was Jewish, but converted to Catholicism and became the nun, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She acknowledged her heritage and the Nazis put her to death in Auschwitz.

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

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 15, 2019

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