Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

The Christian life is not something we can get used to, really.  As long as we are in the world we are pilgrims in a foreign land.  What Jesus is teaching us to leave behind are the vices that make us feel like we are more at home in this life than we would be in Heaven.  We are constantly challenged to set our sights on the greatest gifts that can only come from God.  It is certainly by His grace that we can realize every day how whatever we depend upon in this life will pass away.  The habit of prayer is so important because, even if it seems unnatural at times, it trains us to let go and detach from our worldly existence.  Without that detachment, we cannot experience the true gift of freedom because we continue to fret about things that in the end cannot matter because they won’t exist in eternity.  “Help us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (Ps 90:12)


There is an excellent and significant illustration in the book of Kings, showing how the sin of fornication is prevented by an attack of pride. When the children of Israel had been taken captive by Neco, king of the Egyptians, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyriaans, came up and brought them back from the borders of Egypt to their own country, not indeed meaning to restore them to their former liberty and their native land, but meaning to carry them off to his own land and to transport them to a still more distant country than the land of Egypt in which they had been prisoners. And this illustration exactly applies to the case before us. For though there is less harm in yielding to the sin of pride than to fornication, yet it is more difficult to escape from the dominion of pride. For somehow or other the prisoner who is carried off to a greater distance will have more difficulty in returning to his native land and the freedom of his fathers, and the prophet’s rebuke will be deservedly aimed at him: “Why have you grown old in a strange country? Indeed a man is rightly said to have grown old in a strange country, if he has not broken up the ground of his sins.1


For not even after he went down from the mountain did the hearers leave, but even then the whole audience followed him because of the great love that was shown in what he had said. But most of all they were astounded at his authority. For when he said these things, he did not refer to another, as even the prophet Moses did, but everywhere he showed that he himself was the One who had the authority to decide.2


  1. CONFERENCE 5.12. Conti, M., & Pilara, G. (Eds.). (2008). 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (p. 237). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 25.1. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 158). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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