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Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Ez. 43:l-7 & Mt. 23:1-1 2

The Jews were living in exile. They felt that they were a people very near extinction. But Ezekiel promised that God would restore them to their homeland and their temple. He used the image of flowing water as the sign of God's gift of life. They were to look to God and His gift as the source of their continued existence.

All life, especially human life, is God's gift. No person has ever created a living seed. God alone is the source of life and His gift of life must be valued and safeguarded. Frankenstein attempted to create the spark of life in his laboratory. The result was a monster out of control! His mistake was trying to play God. Our society is also making a serious mistake in wantonly destroying life through abortion and euthanasia. We have no authority to play God.

Jesus was displeased with the scribes and Pharisees, "They do all their deeds to be seen by others." Indeed, in these few words He summarizes the main reason why He had so much to say against the religious leaders, who openly hated Him. In contrast, if we were to write a similar phrase describing Jesus, it would read, 'Everything He does, He does to please God His Father!' Jesus was entirely different from His opponents; He knew that they were motivated by things other than obeying God's will.

Did the Pharisees actually try to oppose God? No, of course not! They were people like us. Most of them were probably trying to do what they thought was right. But their activities, their responsibilities and their desire for the respect of others, overshadowed their desire to go deeper with God, and they missed the opportunity to develop a closer and life-changing relationship.

How quickly we let other people take the place of God! Jesus came to reveal His Father to us, to direct our hearts to the One who can give us all the wisdom, strength and guidance we need to live the lives that God wants of us. We need the witness of other people, of course, and we can all help each other to please God. But ultimately, the best thing anyone ever does is to turn us toward God, Who will answer all our needs.

The Lord is ready to show us what a good provider He is. Let Him prove to us how fully He can answer our questions and meet our needs. Let us spend time reading His word and praying. Let us watch and wait for the answers to come from our great Master and Teacher. Let us ask Him to help us develop a personal relationship with Him. In turn, as we do good things in His name let us ask ourselves, 'For whom am I doing this?' - and then ponder the answer that will become apparent.

Heavenly Father, may our eyes always be fixed on You. Like Your Son let us do only what pleases You.

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