Reflections on the Daily Readings
Reflections on the Daily Readings
November 10 - 16, 2019
The Season of Ordinary Time - The Thirty-second Week
Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle I.
Divine Office - Psalter Week IV.
Sunday 10: The Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
2Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14; Psalm 16; 2Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; Luke 20:27-38
In the first reading from the second Book of the Maccabees we have a section from the powerful story of a mother and her seven sons who were arrested for refusing to bow down before the false gods of the king or to defy the Laws of God. One by one they were tortured and put to death – in front of their mother – beginning with the eldest of the sons and finishing, finally, with the woman herself. Each proclaimed their faith in God and received a martyr’s death, to the astonishment of their torturers. In our passage today the first three sons remind the king that they are faithful to God and so are prepared to die for him; that the Lord will raise them up and that bodily resurrection lies in store for those who are faithful; and that there is no resurrection or life for those who defy God. Our Psalm for today could easily have been the words on the lips of the young men and their mother as they died for the faith: ‘I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord’.
In the gospel, we see the Sadducees questioning Jesus about resurrection of the dead. The first reading spoke clearly of a belief in resurrection but the Sadducees did not believe in the concept, and so their example is quite strained and ridiculous. In his response, Jesus is clear that resurrection of the dead is a reality, but it is not simply a continuation of this world in which men and women need to marry again, presumably for the purpose of having children in the after-life. He reminds the Sadducees that Moses too held this belief but that over the centuries this belief has been lost to them, and he quotes the same Torah writings to support his argument against theirs. God is the God of the living which means that heaven is not a place of death, and physical death is not the last word on life. Those who are faithful to the Law and to God – such as the woman and her seven sons in the first reading – will rise from the dead and dwell for ever with God.
In the second reading to the Christian community at Thessalonica, the author again assures the people that he prays for them that they may be strengthened in all that they do. He then asks them to continue to pray for him and for the spread of the Gospel message which is his mission and the mission of all the faithful. In particular, he asks for prayers that those who are evil and those who are bigots will not be able to prevent the spread of the Good News.
Monday 11: Memorial of St Martin of Tours, Bishop*
Wisdom 1:1-7; Psalm 138; Luke 17:1-6
For the final few weeks of the Church’s year we return to the Old Testament and this week we read from the Book of Wisdom which was written about the year 50 BC in the Egyptian city of Alexandria and attributed to King Solomon. In the opening section we are told that Wisdom is a friend to man but will not make itself known to those who try to test it or seek to outsmart it. Neither will it be found by those who devote their lives to sin. Wisdom is the Spirit of God who moves throughout the world. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that we must forgive those who have done wrong to us if they come back and seek forgiveness. No matter how often someone may wrong us if they come seeking forgiveness then we must forgive them. In the same way we too should seek forgiveness of those whom we have hurt, and that includes God. We cannot go to God to seek forgiveness if we do not forgive others and we cannot expect others to forgive us if we do not seek their forgiveness and acknowledge that what we ourselves have done is wrong.
Tuesday 12: Memorial of St Josaphat, Bishop & Martyr*
Wisdom 2:23-3:9; Psalm 33; Luke 17:7-10
Our reading today from the book of Wisdom is a very familiar one which is quite often heard at funerals. It tells us that we were made imperishable but that death came through the devil. It goes on to tell us that “the souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God” – a very consoling image and one which clearly shows the author’s belief in eternal life with God. Those who join God in the next life will sit with him in the kingdom and will not just praise and worship him but will judge the peoples of this world with God – they will fully share in his glory. In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the disciples that they are servants and in carrying out his will they are not to look for praise or to have people wait on their every wish for they are doing no more than their duty. We too have a duty like the first apostles and that is to spread the good news of the kingdom wherever we may go and to do so without looking for reward or favour.
Wednesday 13: Of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 6:1-11; Psalm 81; Luke 17:11-19
In the first reading today the author reminds rulers of nations that they hold office from God in whose name they must govern the people. Those who abuse their office and act unjustly and unlawfully will be punished by the Lord. But those who have been merciful will be rewarded by God. In our Gospel text, we have the story of Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers. He cures all ten but only one comes back to thank Jesus and he the foreigner among them. This is a reminder that we have all received something from God’s bounty and we must all give thanks to him. Sadly, it happens all too often that those who have grown up in the faith have taken such generosity for granted and so fail to thank God unlike those who have come to knowledge of God later in life than most and who fully appreciate what it is that they have received. Let us spend some time today giving thanks to God for what it is that we have received.
Thursday 14: Of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 7:22-8:1; Psalm 118; Luke 17:20-25
In the opening part of today’s first reading we read of some of the qualities of Wisdom. This passage gave rise to many others in the New Testament and also gave rise to Wisdom being identified as the Son of God because of the qualities described here. In the second part we read that Wisdom moves through all things and through all generations leading people to the knowledge of God. The Psalm tells us that the word of God stands unchanging and for ever. In the Gospel passage, Jesus tells the Pharisees that the coming of the kingdom will not be something that can be seen, in fact it has already arrived. The kingdom of God is already among us and we should waste no time looking for signs but should live as members of that kingdom. We are reminded not to be as blind as the Pharisees who failed to see in his teaching and preaching the presence of the kingdom among them.
In Carmelite churches:
November 14: All Carmelite Saints
Romans 8:28-35, 37-39; Psalm 23; Matthew 5:1-12
Today we remember all those members of the Carmelite Family whose heroic lives have pointed the way to heaven for us and who have been recognised as saints and blesseds. Our first reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans speaks of how God wants all people to become true images of his own divine Son. All those he intends for this are called and if we too believe then we too will be like them for we shall share his glory in eternity. The Gospel text from Matthew gives the account of the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes. Those who live out the Beatitudes while here on earth will inherit the kingdom of heaven and enjoy eternal life as do the saints.
Friday 15: Of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 13:1-9; Psalm 18; Luke 17:26-37
The author of the book of Wisdom questions how men of learning and science can understand so many things and yet fail to understand or come to know God. God is in all the things that they study and understand and yet they fail to see him. The author of Wisdom, while saying that the pagans are misguided for their worship of nature, does say that unlike the Jews of their day, the pagans do actually worship God in his creation though without realising it. The Psalm also tells us that the heavens proclaim the glory of God. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that the glory of the Son of Man will be revealed suddenly. He reminds us of Noah and Lot who heeded the Lord’s word and were saved while those who did not, perished. We do not know when the Lord will call each one of us to give an account of our stewardship so we must always be ready for that day.
In Carmelite churches:
November 15: All Carmelite Souls
Romans 14:7-9, 10c-12; Psalm 114; Matthew 25:31-46
Today we commemorate all those members of the Carmelite Family who have gone before us to their eternal reward. In our first reading from the letter to the Romans, St Paul reminds us that when we are called from this life that each of us will have to stand before the Lord and give an account of our lives. If we are true Christians then we belong to the Lord. Our Gospel today sees Jesus teaching his disciples about the judgement of God. He tells them, as he tells us today, that those who do the will of God will enter and inherit the kingdom of heaven, while those who refuse to reach out to their brothers and sisters in their need will not enter the kingdom for they have rejected God by their very rejection of others. If we too want to be part of the kingdom then we must reach out to others every day.
Saturday 16: Of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 18:14-16, 19:6-9; Psalm 104; Luke 18:1-8
In the first reading today we are reminded of the flight of the Israelites from Egypt and how they passed through the Red Sea in safety. This was done because the Lord was faithful to his people. It also reminds the people how nature can be controlled by God to bring good thing to those who fear him but punishment on those who do not carry out his will. The Psalm continues this theme and calls on us to remember all that the Lord has done for his people. In the Gospel we are told by Christ that those who call to the Lord and who seek justice will be helped by the Lord even if that help appears to be slow in coming. No matter what happens we must never lose trust in the Lord but must continue to make our prayers known to the Lord in trusting confidence.
Memorials this Week:
November 11: Memorial of St Martin of Tours, Bishop
Martin was born to a Roman officer about the year 335, in what is today Hungary, and was himself drafted into the army. However, he believed that Christians should not take part in war and so he refused to participate. He was a disciple of St Hilary of Poitiers and founded a community of hermit-monks which later became a Benedictine monastery. In 371 he was reluctantly elected Bishop of Tours, in the west of central France, though he continued his monastic lifestyle as much as possible. He brought monasticism to Gaul (western Europe) and had a considerable influence on the Celtic churches. He died in 397.
November 12: Memorial of St Josaphat, Bishop & Martyr
Ivan Kuntsevych was born about the year 1580 in Vladimir, in the Ukraine. He became a Byzantine Rite monk in the Order of St Basil the Great and was given the name Josaphat, later becoming abbot of Vilna. At that time, the Orthodox Dioceses in Kiev were united with the Holy See, and to this union he devoted his life. In 1618 he was appointed Archbishop of Polotsk where he touched the lives of many people through his gentleness and wisdom. For his efforts to bring about union with Rome he was dragged from his home in Vitebsk in White Russia (part of modern-day Belarus), lynched and murdered by a mob in 1623. He is buried in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
November 14: All Carmelite Saints
November 15: All Carmelite Souls
© P. Breen, O.Carm. 2011, 2013
The Reflections above are available in printed form in:
Reflections on the Readings for every day of the Church's year.
Patrick J. Breen, O.Carm. Dublin: Columba Press. 2011. ISBN 978 1 85607 732 3.
And direct from the publishers: Columba Press, Dublin.