Simply to make you rich

Jesus Christ . . . became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich In a surprising headline in 2010, Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder announced that he was selling all of his properties and businesses.   At age forty-seven, he had become convinced that he needed to stop what he was doing and begin his real life.   His goal was to “have nothing left, absolutely nothing.”   So he set up an organization to help...

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Merciful Commandment

When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well No pain, no gain.   You reap what you sow.   The punishment should fit the crime.   These sayings express our belief in natural consequences and proportional justice.   In today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 5:39), Jesus addresses the Jewish version of this principle:   “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (see Leviticus 24:20).   It may sound harsh to us, but...

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We become a New Creation

Whoever is in Christ is a new creation When Josh went off to graduate school, he felt as if a new chapter was beginning.   Soon after arriving at school, this sense was confirmed—through his car.   During the first week of class, the rear-view mirror fell off the windshield. Josh thought it was a message from God:  “Don’t look behind you anymore. The past is gone. Start looking ahead.” The message this young grad student received is not a new...

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God craves our holiness

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away Pluck out an eye?   Lop off a hand?   Imagine how the disciples’ jaws must have dropped when Jesus said this!   His point, however, wasn’t that self-mutilation is a necessary step to holiness.   It’s that God craves our holiness.   The purity and faithfulness that he intends for us are worth more, even, than a sound, whole body. God has called you, after all, to be holy as he is...

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Angry saints

Whoever is angry with his brother . . . Angry saints.   It sounds almost comical, but the truth is that many saints struggled with controlling their anger.   Historians think Jesus nicknamed the apostles James and John the “Sons of Thunder” because of their anger.   St. Paul was known for his angry outbursts whenever he felt that the gospel he preached was being misunderstood.   Even sweet Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, had to work on...

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Thank you, Lord, for your blessings

Glory that surpasses . . .  Have you ever watched a little child contentedly nibbling on an animal cracker while an adult nearby enjoys a gourmet dessert?   That child has no idea what she’s missing;  she feels like she has it all.   That’s something of an analogy to how we might experience the surpassing glory that Paul preaches about in today’s first reading (2 Corinthians 3:10). Compared to the ancient Israelites, we may feel like we have it...

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He “saw” what God had done

When he arrived and saw the grace of God . . .  St. Barnabas, one of the earliest missionaries, had many gifts, but one of his most valuable gifts was the ability to “see” what God was doing and to encourage it. Think about how Barnabas was able to welcome Paul into the community of believers after his conversion (Acts 9:27).   He “saw” what God had done in this former persecutor and chose to accept Paul in spite of his past.   Again, when he...

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