Posts Tagged ‘Catholicjules.net’


Do you think the story in Maccabees is highly exaggerated? Perhaps… What mother in her right mind would allow all her precious sons to perish just like that? How then would you account for the Holy martyrs over the centuries? Most of them had a choice, yet they chose the Lord our God over all else? The theological truth contained in the Scripture texts of today is that the Lord our God is Faithful to all who are faithful to Him. And death has no power over us, who live in the presence of our living God. For when it is time for us to die, we know it is only a momentary passing into new life with Him. Will our Lord Jesus Christ find such faith in us today?

From the treasury of His heart, our Lord has given us tenfold gifts and talents that we should build His kingdom. Do we instead bury them in linen cloth refusing to care and use them for His greater glory? Who then have we made the Lord of our lives? Will the Lord we choose to serve faithfully, lead us to everlasting life?

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, You alone are the Lord of my life! Here I am to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

2 Maccabees 7:1,20-31 ·
The creator of the world will give you back both breath and life

There were seven brothers who were arrested with their mother. The king tried to force them to taste pig’s flesh, which the Law forbids, by torturing them with whips and scourges. But the mother was especially admirable and worthy of honourable remembrance, for she watched the death of seven sons in the course of a single day, and endured it resolutely because of her hopes in the Lord. Indeed she encouraged each of them in the language of their ancestors; filled with noble conviction, she reinforced her womanly argument with manly courage, saying to them, ‘I do not know how you appeared in my womb; it was not I who endowed you with breath and life, I had not the shaping of your every part. It is the creator of the world, ordaining the process of man’s birth and presiding over the origin of all things, who in his mercy will most surely give you back both breath and life, seeing that you now despise your own existence for the sake of his laws.’
Antiochus thought he was being ridiculed, suspecting insult in the tone of her voice; and as the youngest was still alive he appealed to him not with mere words but with promises on oath to make him both rich and happy if he would abandon the traditions of his ancestors; he would make him his Friend and entrust him with public office. The young man took no notice at all, and so the king then appealed to the mother, urging her to advise the youth to save his life. After a great deal of urging on his part she agreed to try persuasion on her son. Bending over him, she fooled the cruel tyrant with these words, uttered in the language of their ancestors, ‘My son, have pity on me; I carried you nine months in my womb and suckled you three years, fed you and reared you to the age you are now (and cherished you). I implore you, my child, observe heaven and earth, consider all that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of what did not exist, and that mankind comes into being in the same way. Do not fear this executioner, but prove yourself worthy of your brothers, and make death welcome, so that in the day of mercy I may receive you back in your brothers’ company.’
She had scarcely ended when the young man said, ‘What are you all waiting for? I will not comply with the king’s ordinance; I obey the ordinance of the Law given to our ancestors through Moses. As for you, sir, who have contrived every kind of evil against the Hebrews, you will certainly not escape the hands of God.’

Gospel

Luke 19:11-28
The parable of the talents

While the people were listening, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and they imagined that the kingdom of God was going to show itself then and there. Accordingly he said, ‘A man of noble birth went to a distant country to be appointed king and afterwards return. He summoned ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds. “Do business with these” he told them “until I get back.” But his compatriots detested him and sent a delegation to follow him with this message, “We do not want this man to be our king.”
‘Now on his return, having received his appointment as king, he sent for those servants to whom he had given the money, to find out what profit each had made. The first came in and said, “Sir, your one pound has brought in ten.” “Well done, my good servant!” he replied “Since you have proved yourself faithful in a very small thing, you shall have the government of ten cities.” Then came the second and said, “Sir, your one pound has made five.” To this one also he said, “And you shall be in charge of five cities.” Next came the other and said, “Sir, here is your pound. I put it away safely in a piece of linen because I was afraid of you; for you are an exacting man: you pick up what you have not put down and reap what you have not sown.” “You wicked servant!” he said “Out of your own mouth I condemn you. So you knew I was an exacting man, picking up what I have not put down and reaping what I have not sown? Then why did you not put my money in the bank? On my return I could have drawn it out with interest.” And he said to those standing by, “Take the pound from him and give it to the man who has ten pounds.” And they said to him, “But, sir, he has ten pounds…”. “I tell you, to everyone who has will be given more; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
‘“But as for my enemies who did not want me for their king, bring them here and execute them in my presence.”’
When he had said this he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.


If I were chosen this day to die for my Faith, would I be remembered by my family and friends to have had such dignity, piety dedication, faithfulness, integrity, humility and conviction of faith as did Eleazar! It is one thing to die refusing to profane against the Lord my God, but another to lay down my life lived worthily of Him, such that I might honour and glorify my Lord fully by my death. Will they say, “Ah here was a man who encountered and lived in the presence of our Lord!”

Zacchaeus will always be remembered as a man small in size but great in stature. What might have begun as sheer curiosity, he was then moved by a growing desire to witness the Lord such that he humbled himself to climb a tree. Jesus called out to him, sinner as he was and granted his heart’s desire to be in His presence, for then He welcomed the Lord joyfully into His home. Such was His transformation that He vowed to make good for his past mistakes fourfold and to give half of what He owned to the poor. He thus brought salvation to his home! I can only imagine how his face shone after his Master. And everyone around him would have cried out, “Ah here is a man who encountered and lived in the presence of our Lord!”

Lord Jesus Christ let me always live in Your presence. Amen

First reading

2 Maccabees 6:18-31 ·
‘I will make a good death, eagerly and generously, for the holy laws’

Eleazar, one of the foremost teachers of the Law, a man already advanced in years and of most noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth wide to swallow pig’s flesh. But he, resolving to die with honour rather than to live disgraced, went to the block of his own accord, spitting the stuff out, the plain duty of anyone with the courage to reject what it is not lawful to taste, even from a natural tenderness for his own life. Those in charge of the impious banquet, because of their long-standing friendship with him, took him aside and privately urged him to have meat brought of a kind he could properly use, prepared by himself, and only pretend to eat the portions of sacrificial meat as prescribed by the king; this action would enable him to escape death, by availing himself of an act of kindness prompted by their long friendship. But having taken a noble decision worthy of his years and the dignity of his great age and the well earned distinction of his grey hairs, worthy too of his impeccable conduct from boyhood, and above all of the holy legislation established by God himself, he publicly stated his convictions, telling them to send him at once to Hades. ‘Such pretence’ he said ‘does not square with our time of life; many young people would suppose that Eleazar at the age of ninety had conformed to the foreigners’ way of life, and because I had played this part for the sake of a paltry brief spell of life might themselves be led astray on my account; I should only bring defilement and disgrace on my old age. Even though for the moment I avoid execution by man, I can never, living or dead, elude the grasp of the Almighty. Therefore if I am man enough to quit this life here and now I shall prove myself worthy of my old age, and I shall have left the young a noble example of how to make a good death, eagerly and generously, for the venerable and holy laws.’
With these words he went straight to the block. His escorts, so recently well disposed towards him, turned against him after this declaration, which they regarded as sheer madness. Just before he died under the blows, he groaned aloud and said, ‘The Lord whose knowledge is holy sees clearly that, though I might have escaped death, whatever agonies of body I now endure under this bludgeoning, in my soul I am glad to suffer, because of the awe which he inspires in me.’
This was how he died, leaving his death as an example of nobility and a record of virtue not only for the young but for the great majority of the nation.

Gospel

Luke 19:1-10
Salvation comes to the house of Zacchaeus

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’


How grounded are we in our faith and in our relationship with the Lord our God that nothing or no one can come between us?

Many of us however are content just to follow and observe the rituals of our faith without understanding the depth, the richness and the sacred realities behind them. So then, when challenged as to why we do what we do? Or the legitimacy of being faithful to our God whom we are often blind to, we cave in to the lures of the world! Typically what often follows is a mob mentality. We convince others to follow suit, or when in doubt on whether we ourselves are living as we should, we choose to listen to the loud voices of those cheering us on to live as they do! Never mind that there never is peace of mind or true joy in our hearts. That we are constantly searching for and wanting more. Never mind that we seem discontent with everything and everyone.

Come now, why continue to live in darkness? To be blind to the wonders of God’s great love that surrounds us. To continue to live out shallow meaningless lives. Let us cry out to Him with contrite hearts and spirit, “Jesus Son of the living God, have pity on us!” for surely the doors of heaven will be opened to us as He grants us His mercy and love.

Open our hearts and minds to see You Lord, now and forever. Amen

First reading

1 Maccabees 1:10-15,41-43,54-57,62-64
The persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes

There grew a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus; once a hostage in Rome, he became king in the one hundred and thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. It was then that there emerged from Israel a set of renegades who led many people astray. ‘Come,’ they said ‘let us reach an understanding with the pagans surrounding us, for since we separated ourselves from them many misfortunes have overtaken us.’ This proposal proved acceptable, and a number of the people eagerly approached the king, who authorised them to practise the pagan observances. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, such as the pagans have, disguised their circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant, submitting to the heathen rule as willing slaves of impiety.
Then the king issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people, each renouncing his particular customs. All the pagans conformed to the king’s decree, and many Israelites chose to accept his religion, sacrificing to idols and profaning the sabbath. The king erected the abomination of desolation above the altar; and altars were built in the surrounding towns of Judah and incense offered at the doors of houses and in the streets. Any books of the Law that came to light were torn up and burned. Whenever anyone was discovered possessing a copy of the covenant or practising the Law, the king’s decree sentenced him to death.
Yet there were many in Israel who stood firm and found the courage to refuse unclean food. They chose death rather than contamination by such fare or profanation of the holy covenant, and they were executed. It was a dreadful wrath that visited Israel.

Gospel

Luke 18:35-43
‘Son of David, have pity on me’

As Jesus drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging. When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about, and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by. So he called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’ The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Sir,’ he replied ‘let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.’ And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God for what had happened.


“Today” is the Day: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Malachi 3:19–20
Psalm 98:5–9
2 Thessalonians 3:7–12
Luke 21:5–19

It is the age between our Lord’s first coming and His last. We live in the new world begun by His life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension, by the sending of His Spirit upon the Church. But we await the day when He will come again in glory.
“Lo, the day is coming,” Malachi warns in today’s First Reading. The prophets taught Israel to look for the Day of the Lord, when He would gather the nations for judgment (see Zephaniah 3:8; Isaiah 3:9; 2 Peter 3:7).
Jesus anticipates this day in today’s Gospel. He cautions us not to be deceived by those claiming “the time has come.” Such deception is the background also for today’s Epistle (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3).

The signs Jesus gives His Apostles seem to already have come to pass in the New Testament. In Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation, we read of famines and earthquakes, the Temple’s desolation. We read of persecutions—believers imprisoned and put to death, testifying to their faith with wisdom in the Spirit.

These “signs,” then, show us the pattern for the Church’s life—both in the New Testament and today.
We too live in a world of nations and kingdoms at war. And we should take the Apostles as our “models,” as today’s Epistle counsels. Like them we must persevere in the face of unbelieving relatives and friends, and forces and authorities hostile to God.

As we do in today’s Psalm, we should sing His praises, joyfully proclaim His coming as Lord and King. The Day of the Lord is always a day that has already come and a day still yet to come. It is the “today” of our Liturgy.

The Apostles prayed marana tha—“O Lord come!” (see 1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20). In the Eucharist He answers, coming again as the Lord of hosts and the Sun of Justice with its healing rays. It is a mighty sign—and a pledge of that Day to come.


The great difficulty in praying with the word of God in our hearts is only ‘great’ by the number of obstacles we place before ourselves. Too tired, no or not enough time in a day, too great a sinner, don’t know how, boring, useless, more pressing things to attend to, unimportant. Which one of these is from the Lord our God?

Jesus tells us to have faith, pray continually and never lose heart. He is saying to us to come to Him sinners that we are and He will transform us from within. Speak to Him, heart to heart and He will listen, then listen with your heart. The Word of God will surely come in the silence and make all things new. For, as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilising it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat, so it is with the word that goes from my mouth says our Lord: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do. Isaiah 55:10–11 The Lord our God indeed will answer all the prayers of His faithful, it may take more time in some instances and the answer to some of our prayers may even be No! Still we will rejoice and sing His praises for He only wants what is best for us. His justice and Will be done always. This is the faith we must have in Him who is always faithful.

Prayer unites us with Him who loves us ever so dearly. Amen

First reading

Wisdom 18:14-16,19:6-9 ·
The Red Sea became an unimpeded way

When peaceful silence lay over all,
and night had run the half of her swift course, down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word;
into the heart of a doomed land the stern warrior leapt.
Carrying your unambiguous command like a sharp sword, he stood, and filled the universe with death; he touched the sky, yet trod the earth.

For, to keep your children from all harm,
the whole creation, obedient to your commands, was once more, and newly, fashioned in its nature.
Overshadowing the camp thereu was the cloud, where water had been, dry land was seen to rise, the Red Sea became an unimpeded way, the tempestuous flood a green plain; sheltered by your hand, the whole nation passed across, gazing at these amazing miracles.
They were like horses at pasture, they skipped like lambs, singing your praises, Lord, their deliverer.

Gospel

Luke 18:1-8
The parable of the unjust judge

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’
And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’


As we draw closer to Advent, we will hear more and more of end times and the impending death of Christ Jesus our Lord who will fulfill God our Father’s plan for the salvation of the world. And so what does it all mean for us or to us for that matter? We can choose to start our merry making ahead of time by taking Christ out of Christmas! To focus only on His birth saying Emmanuel had come! And forgetting that the completion of our salvation came through His death and Resurrection! Or we could unite ourselves as one Body In Christ and observe through the wisdom of our Church the season of Advent as preparation to meet our Lord when He comes again. Thereafter at the appropriate time, we will rejoice together and celebrate as one Body In Him.

We are not called to remain in darkness or gloom and that would never happen for us who live in the light of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. For He truly lives in us today, tomorrow and forevermore. We who are baptised must live fully in His love, in the peace He bestowed upon us; with such joy in our hearts that all who do not yet know Jesus our Lord will want to. For they want what we have, of which the world cannot give.

Sisters and brothers let us unite ourselves in prayer and continue to stay awake, standing ready to meet our Lord when He returns. Amen

First reading

Wisdom 13:1-9 ·
How have those who investigated the world been so slow to find its Master?

Naturally stupid are all men who have not known God and who, from the good things that are seen, have not been able to discover Him-who-is, or, by studying the works, have failed to recognise the Artificer.
Fire however, or wind, or the swift air, the sphere of the stars, impetuous water, heaven’s lamps,
are what they have held to be the gods who govern the world.

If, charmed by their beauty, they have taken things for gods, let them know how much the Lord of these excels them, since the very Author of beauty has created them.
And if they have been impressed by their power and energy,
let them deduce from these how much mightier is he that has formed them, since through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures we may, by analogy, contemplate their Author.

Small blame, however, attaches to these men, for perhaps they only go astray in their search for God and their eagerness to find him;
living among his works, they strive to comprehend them. and fall victim to appearances, seeing so much beauty.
Even so, they are not to be excused: if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge
to be able to investigate the world,
how have they been so slow to find its Master?

Gospel

Luke 17:26-37
When the day comes for the Son of Man to be revealed

Jesus said to the disciples:
‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating and drinking, marrying wives and husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in Lot’s day: people were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but the day Lot left Sodom, God rained fire and brimstone from heaven and it destroyed them all. It will be the same when the day comes for the Son of Man to be revealed.
‘When that day comes, anyone on the housetop, with his possessions in the house, must not come down to collect them, nor must anyone in the fields turn back either. Remember Lot’s wife. Anyone who tries to preserve his life will lose it; and anyone who loses it will keep it safe. I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed: one will be taken, the other left; two women will be grinding corn together: one will be taken, the other left.’ The disciples interrupted. ‘Where, Lord?’ they asked. He said, ‘Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.’


We often foolishly think we are much wiser than others. Either we verbally communicate this ‘fact’ by talking down to them or we gloat silently with an air of contempt. If it be true wisdom that we possess why would there be a need to compare? How does wisdom compare with itself? All wisdom as we know it, comes from the Lord our God and the deeper our relationship with Him the wiser we become. Not necessarily by human standards. As we understand it through scripture, the haughty shall never see God, however the humble have seen and are glad. Let your courage revive, you who seek God. (Psalm 69:32) Adam and Eve wanted to know and be like God, yet how could they hope to contain, or hold on to His infinite wisdom within their miniscule bodies or apply it without His timeless experience?

True wisdom as I see it comes from an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. Of relooking and rethinking all that we have seen and think we know through and with Him. Of coming into and remaining in His presence. For through His life, death and Resurrection, the Kingdom of God has already come. So in all humility let us seek to deepen our relationship with Him above all else, and through His wisdom and grace may we glorify Him through our loving service of our brethren and of Him. Amen

First reading

Wisdom 7:22-8:1
Wisdom is a breath of the power of God

Within Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle, active, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp, irresistible, beneficent, loving to man,
steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits;
for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.
She is a breath of the power of God,
pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; hence nothing impure can find a way into her.
She is a reflection of the eternal light,
untarnished mirror of God’s active power,
image of his goodness.
Although alone, she can do all; herself unchanging, she makes all things new.
In each generation she passes into holy souls, she makes them friends of God and prophets; for God loves only the man who lives with Wisdom.
She is indeed more splendid than the sun,
she outshines all the constellations;
compared with light, she takes first place,
for light must yield to night, but over Wisdom evil can never triumph.
She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things for good.

Gospel

Luke 17:20-25
The kingdom of God is among you

Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, “Look here! Look there!” For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.’
He said to the disciples, ‘A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or, “Look here!” Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when his day comes. But first he must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.’