Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Mc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63

[From the descendants of Alexander’s officers]
there sprang a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes,
son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome.
He became king in the year one hundred and thirty seven
of the kingdom of the Greeks.

In those days there appeared in Israel
men who were breakers of the law,
and they seduced many people, saying:
“Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us;
since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us.”
The proposal was agreeable;
some from among the people promptly went to the king,
and he authorized them to introduce the way of living
of the Gentiles.
Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem
according to the Gentile custom.
They covered over the mark of their circumcision
and abandoned the holy covenant;
they allied themselves with the Gentiles
and sold themselves to wrongdoing.

Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,
each abandoning his particular customs.
All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king,
and many children of Israel were in favor of his religion;
they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.

On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev,
in the year one hundred and forty-five,
the king erected the horrible abomination
upon the altar of burnt offerings
and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars.
They also burned incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.
Any scrolls of the law which they found they tore up and burnt.
Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant,
and whoever observed the law,
was condemned to death by royal decree.
But many in Israel were determined
and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean;
they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food
or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.
Terrible affliction was upon Israel.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158

R.  (see 88) Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Indignation seizes me because of the wicked
who forsake your law.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Though the snares of the wicked are twined about me,
your law I have not forgotten.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Redeem me from the oppression of men,
that I may keep your precepts.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
I am attacked by malicious persecutors
who are far from your law.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
Far from sinners is salvation,
because they seek not your statutes.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.
I beheld the apostates with loathing,
because they kept not to your promise.
R. Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.

Alleluia Jn 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, please go here.

For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, please go here.

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Dedication of the Churches of Peter and Paul

This feast celebrates the dedications of two of the four major basilicas of Rome. Saint Peter’s Basilica was originally built in 323 by the emperor Constantine.  The basilica was constructed over the tomb of Peter the Apostle, the Church’s first Pope.  After standing for more than a thousand years, Pope Julius II ordered the building to be torn down due to structural concerns.  The construction of the new church spanned over 200 years before its completion. It was dedicated on Nov. 18, 1626.  It is considered the most famous church in Christendom.Saint Paul´s Basilica is located outside the original walls of Rome. It was also originally built by the emperor Constantine though it was destroyed by fire in 1823. Donations from around the world made the reconstruction possible. Before the completion of Saint Peter´s Basilica, St Paul’s was the largest church in Rome.  The Basilica was built over St. Paul´s grave.  Pope Pius IX consecrated the Basilica in 1854.These two churches continue to draw millions of faithful pilgrims each year as well as many visitors from other faiths .

Outside of Time

Today’s readings are pretty tough to swallow, being not only about hell but also about the end time and not knowing the precise moment. It is easy to look at these readings and be confused as to why we would not be told when Jesus will come for the second time. It seems that a loving God would tell us the exact date so we can get our things in order and prepare, but this gives us a window into one of the more profound truths about God.

Theologians over the years have talked about God being outside of time as we know it today. As Catholics, we call this the eternal now. That everything is present to God at all times. The past, the present, and the future are all known to him in every single moment because it is God who holds all of those moments in being.

This is hard for us to understand as human beings because it is so different from our experience of alarms, schedules, and age. But it’s beautiful because it shows us that our time here on earth, our literal seconds ticking by, is just a drop in the ocean compared to eternity with God. Life might not be perfect, it might be incredibly difficult and filled with suffering, it might have its ups and downs, but we were not meant for this, we were meant for eternal bliss with God forever.

If God sees everything, past, present, and future, then on the cross as he was suffering for us, he was also suffering with us. He saw every suffering we would ever experience and experienced it with us to help us through it. He was already giving us the grace we needed to endure. Why do you think he sweat blood? That’s a lot of pressure, the suffering of all people for all time being offered on the cross.

It may sometimes seem like God doesn’t have a plan or doesn’t care. There is a lot of suffering in the world. But God sees the whole picture. He sees that there is something beyond this world that we are made for. He sees that this world is not the end. He wants us to experience love not only for these ticking seconds on earth but for infinity and beyond. From all of us here at Diocesan, God Bless!

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Tommy Shultz is a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan. In that role, he is committed to coaching parishes and dioceses on authentic and effective Catholic communication. Tommy has a heart and a flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. His mission and drive have been especially inspired by St. John Paul II’s teachings. Tommy is blessed to be able to learn from the numerous parishes he visits and pass that experience on in his presentations. Contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com.

Perhaps Today

Your all-powerful word, from heaven’s royal throne
bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land,
bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree.
And as he alighted, he filled every place with death;
he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth.

Wow-what an image of the Logos – the Word of God who was God and the maker of all things (John 1: 1-5). I don’t know about you, but as I look around me at the culture, the church, and individual behavior, I think I’d like to see Jesus return as a fierce warrior, filling the earth.

Growing up in a conservative Protestant church, we heard about Christ’s imminent return quite a bit. A famous church leader, M. R DeHaan, even had a motto on his desk that read, “Perhaps today.” He wanted to be reminded daily that Christ could return – would he be ready? I’m not sure I’m as ready as I should be, but I would like to see Him bound from Heaven and fill the earth.

Then we read the Gospel and find a parable that seems somewhat simple compared to such apocalyptic words from Wisdom. A poor widow woman needs justice, and a corrupt judge is her only hope. Although he’s disinclined to listen to her, she wears him down until he finally delivers a just decision just to get rid of her. But Jesus doesn’t leave his disciples (or us) scratching our heads. He explains:

“Will not God secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

So there it is. Do we have faith? Do we pray? If so, do we believe God will answer us and work on our behalf? Does God love us enough to actually take care of us? The Israelites were trapped, with the Egyptian army behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. God showed his love and care and delivered them. He’ll do the same for you and for me–call on him, and don’t grow weary. Marvelous things are in store.

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Pamela joined Diocesan’s staff in 2006, after a number of years in the non-profit sector. Her experience is in non-profit administration including management, finance, and program development, along with database management and communications. She was a catechist in her parish RCIA program for over 15 years, as well as chairperson of their Liturgy Commision. Received into the Catholic Church as an adult, Pamela’s faith formation was influenced by her Mennonite extended family, her Baptist childhood, and her years as a Reformed Presbyterian (think Scott Hahn).