Ordinary Season of the Year. (a)
Weekdays – Year 1
Sunday 19th November: Thirty-Third Sunday of the Year. (a)
The different talents people possess are highlighted in today’s readings.
The first reading, from the Book of Proverbs, describes some of the gifts a woman can bring to a marriage.
In the second reading, from the Letter to the Thessalonians, we are reminded that the Day of the Lord could come at any moment so we must always be on watch and ready. We will hear this theme echoed in the fast approaching season of Advent.
The Gospel passage reminds us that we have been given talents for a purpose – they are to be used.
Monday 20th November: Monday of the 33rd week of the year
Two Books of Maccabees were probably written about a hundred years before Christ, telling of events that had taken place a few years before that. They tell the story of a particular family, nicknamed the Maccabees, who decided to rebel against the country’s leaders who were trying to impose a foreign religious culture. The revolt was led, first by the father Matthias and later by his three sons, Judas, Jonathan and Simon.
In today’s passage, we hear of the king supporting the move to suppress the traditional religion of the Jews by burning the books and setting up practices that were against the faith. A statue of Zeus Olympus was erected and the people were expected to pay reverence to it. Some stood firm and would not contaminate themselves.
The healing of the blind man near Jericho gives us a further insight into the nature of Jesus’ work. He is to give sight to the blind, not just in a physical sense but also spiritually. The blind man’s faith helps him to recognise Jesus as the one promised to the people of Israel throughout their history – he is the Son of David.
Tuesday 21st November: Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This feast goes back to 543 when a church, built near the Temple in Jerusalem, was dedicated to Our Lady. The feast helps reminds us of Our Lady’s dedication to God from her earliest years. According to an early Christian tradition, she was taken to the Temple as a child to be offered to the service of God.
Wednesday 22nd November: Memorial of St. Cecilia.
All that we know, with any certainty, about St. Cecilia is that she was a Roman lady who lived in the third century and founded a church which is named after her. A legend has been woven around her life and supposed martyrdom. According to one incident in that legend, she sang to God as she was being executed for her faith. This has resulted in her being name the patroness of all musicians. We ask her prayers today for all those who enhance the Church’s worship by music and song.
Thursday 23rd November: Thursday in 33rd week of the Year.
We go back in time to the beginning of the revolt of the Maccabees. We hear of the efforts made to bring down the father of the Maccabees – Mattathias. Pressure is put on him to reject his faith. His response is to stir up the people and all who wish to remain loyal to the Covenant are welcome to join them.
The Gospel reminds us that the people of Jerusalem rejected Christ and as a result face destruction.
Friday 24th November: Friday of the 33rd week of the year.
There was a lull in the war under Judas so it was decided to restore and eventually rededicate the Temple. This celebration went on for eight days and was to be remembered each year.
A stark message – we must have respect for the Temple of the Lord. The people had not recognised the opportunity given to them by God, opportunities which are given to us to this day. The reaction of Jesus is understandable; the behaviour of those who had deformed the spirit of true religion so much left him no choice.
Saturday 25th November: Saturday of the 33rd week of the year.
Antiochus, the King of the region suffered because of the persecution he had inflicted on the Jews. He died with all his plans gone astray and far away from his own home. This was seen as punishment from God for the evil he had done.
Jesus takes the debate on to a different level. Jesus speaks with authority and confounds the Sadducees who said there was no resurrection. We are all going to rise on the last day.
Grant unto them
Let perpetual light
shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.