Saturday, November 20, 2021
Reading (1 Maccabees 6:1-13)
 As King Antiochus the Fourth was passing through Mesopotamia, he heard of a city in Persia, named Elymais, which was famous for its riches in silver and gold.
 The temple was very rich, containing gold shields, armor, and weapons left there by Alexander, son of King Philip of Macedonia, who was the first to rule the Greek Empire.
 Antiochus came and tried to take the city and loot it, but he didn’t succeed, because the citizens had learned what he was planning to do,  and they drew up their troops to resist him. In great frustration he withdrew to return to Babylonia.
 In Persia a messenger reached him with the news that the armies he had sent into Judea had been defeated.  Lysias and his strong army had been forced to flee from the Jews, who were now reinforced by the additional weapons, supplies, and loot they had taken from the defeated armies.
 The Jews had pulled down the thing they called The Awful Horror that Antiochus had built on the altar in Jerusalem.
They had also surrounded the Temple with high walls, as it had been before, and had taken and fortified the town of Bethzur, one of the king’s own towns.
 When the king heard this report, he was so dumbfounded and terribly shaken that he went to bed in a fit of deep depression because things had not turned out as he had hoped.
 He remained ill for a long time, as waves of despair swept over him, until he finally realized that he was going to die.  He called together all those to whom he had given the title
Friends of the King and said to them, I cannot sleep, and my heart is broken with grief and worry.  At first I asked myself why these great waves of trouble were sweeping over me, since I have been kind and well-liked during my reign.
 But then I remembered the wrongs I did in Jerusalem when I took all the silver and gold objects from the Temple and tried without any good reason to destroy the inhabitants of Judea.
 I know this is why all these terrible things have happened to me and I am about to die in deep despair here in this foreign land.
Gospel (Luke 20:27-40)
 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.  And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
 Last of all the woman died also.  Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.
 And Yeshua answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.  Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.  And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.
Friday, November 19, 2021
Reading (1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59)
 Judas and his brothers said, Now that our enemies have been defeated, let’s go to Jerusalem to purify the Temple and rededicate it.  So the whole army was assembled and went up to Mount Zion.
[52-54] The twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev, in the year 148 was the anniversary of the day the Gentiles had desecrated the altar. On that day a sacrifice was offered on the new altar in accordance with the Law of Moses.
The new altar was dedicated and hymns were sung to the accompaniment of harps, lutes, and cymbals.  All the people bowed down with their faces to the ground and worshiped and praised the Lord for giving them victory.
 For eight days they celebrated the rededication of the altar. With great joy they brought burnt offerings and offered fellowship offerings and thank offerings.
 They decorated the front of the Temple with gold crowns and shields, rebuilt the gates and the priests’ rooms and put doors on them.
 Now that the Jews had removed the shame which the Gentiles had brought, they held a great celebration.
 Then Judas, his brothers, and the entire community of Israel decreed that the rededication of the altar should be celebrated with a festival of joy and gladness at the same time each year, beginning on the twenty-fifth of the month of Kislev and lasting for eight days.
Gospel (Luke 19:45-48)
 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Reading (1 Maccabees 2:15-29)
 Then the king’s officials, who were forcing the people to turn from God, came to the town of Modein to force the people there to offer pagan sacrifices.  Many of the Israelites came to meet them, including Mattathias and his sons.
 The king’s officials said to Mattathias, You are a respected leader in this town, and you have the support of your sons and relatives.  Why not be the first one here to do what the king has commanded?
All the Gentiles, the people of Judea, and all the people left in Jerusalem have already done so. If you do, you and your sons will be honored with the title of
Friends of the King, and you will be rewarded with silver and gold and many gifts.
 Mattathias answered in a loud voice, I don’t care if every Gentile in this empire has obeyed the king and yielded to the command to abandon the religion of his ancestors.
 My children, my relatives, and I will continue to keep the covenant that God made with our ancestors.  With God’s help we will never abandon his Law or disobey his commands.
 We will not obey the king’s decree, and we will not change our way of worship in the least.
 Just as he finished speaking, one of the men from Modein decided to obey the king’s decree and stepped out in front of everyone to offer a pagan sacrifice on the altar that stood there.
 When Mattathias saw him, he became angry enough to do what had to be done. Shaking with rage, he ran forward and killed the man right there on the altar.
 He also killed the royal official who was forcing the people to sacrifice, and then he tore down the altar.  In this way Mattathias showed his deep devotion for the Law, just as Phinehas had done when he killed Zimri son of Salu.
 Then Mattathias went through the town shouting, Everyone who is faithful to God’s covenant and obeys his Law, follow me!  With this, he and his sons fled to the mountains, leaving behind all they owned.
[29-30] At that time also many of the Israelites who were seeking to be right with God through obedience to the Law went out to live in the wilderness, taking their children, their wives, and their livestock with them, because of the terrible oppression they were suffering.
Gospel (Luke 19:41-44)
 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,  Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Reading (2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31)
 On another occasion a Jewish mother and her seven sons were arrested. The king was having them beaten to force them to eat pork.
 The mother was the most amazing one of them all, and she deserves a special place in our memory. Although she saw her seven sons die in a single day, she endured it with great courage because she trusted in the Lord.
 She combined womanly emotion with manly courage and spoke words of encouragement to each of her sons in their native language.
 I do not know how your life began in my womb, she would say,
I was not the one who gave you life and breath and put together each part of your body.
 It was God who did it, God who created the universe, the human race, and all that exists. He is merciful and he will give you back life and breath again, because you love his laws more than you love yourself.
 Antiochus was sure that the mother was making fun of him, so he did his best to convince her youngest son to abandon the traditions of his ancestors. He promised not only to make the boy rich and famous, but to place him in a position of authority and to give him the title Friend of the King.
 But the boy paid no attention to him, so Antiochus tried to persuade the boy’s mother to talk him into saving his life,  and after much persuasion she agreed to do so.
 Leaning over her son, she fooled the cruel tyrant by saying in her native language, My son, have pity on me. Remember that I carried you in my womb for nine months and nursed you for three years. I have taken care of you and looked after all your needs up to the present day.
 So I urge you, my child, to look at the sky and the earth. Consider everything you see there, and realize that God made it all from nothing, just as he made the human race.
 Don’t be afraid of this butcher. Give up your life willingly and prove yourself worthy of your brothers, so that by God’s mercy I may receive you back with them at the resurrection.
 Before she could finish speaking, the boy said, King Antiochus, what are you waiting for? I refuse to obey your orders. I only obey the commands in the Law which Moses gave to our ancestors.
 You have thought up all kinds of cruel things to do to our people, but you won’t escape the punishment that God has in store for you.
Gospel (Luke 19:11-28)
 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.  And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:  For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)  For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.  And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Reading (2 Maccabees 6:18-31)
 Eleazar one of the chief of the scribes, a man advanced in years, and of a comely countenance, was pressed to open his mouth to eat swine’s flesh.
 But he, choosing rather a most glorious death than a hateful life, went forward voluntarily to the torment.
 And considering in what manner he was come to it, patiently bearing, he determined not to do any unlawful things for the love of life.
 But they that stood by, being moved with wicked pity, for the old friendship they had with the man, taking him aside, desired that flesh might be brought, which it was lawful for him to eat, that he might make as if he had eaten, as the king had commanded of the flesh of the sacrifice:
 That by so doing he might be delivered from death: and for the sake of their old friendship with the man they did him this courtesy.
 But he began to consider the dignity of his age, and his ancient years, and the inbred honour of his grey head, and his good life and conversation from a child: and he answered without delay, according to the ordinances of the holy law made by God, saying, that he would rather be sent into the other world.
 For it doth not become our age, said he, to dissemble: whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, at the age of fourscore and ten years, was gone over to the life of the heathens:
 And so they, through my dissimulation, and for a little time of a corruptible life, should be deceived, and hereby I should bring a stain and a curse upon my old age.
 For though, for the present time, I should be delivered from the punishments of men, yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty neither alive nor dead.
 Wherefore by departing manfully out of this life, I shall shew myself worthy of my old age:
28 And I shall leave an example of fortitude to young men, if with a ready mind and constancy I suffer an honourable death, for the most venerable and most holy laws. And having spoken thus, he was forthwith carried to execution.
 And they that led him, and had been a little before more mild, were changed to wrath for the words he had spoken, which they thought were uttered out of arrogancy.
 But when he was now ready to die with the stripes, he groaned, and said: O Lord, who hast the holy knowledge, thou knowest manifestly that whereas I might be delivered from death, I suffer grevious pains in body: but in soul am well content to suffer these things because I fear thee.
 Thus did this man die, leaving not only to young men, but also to the whole nation, the memory of his death for an example of virtue and fortitude.
Gospel (Luke 19:1-10)
 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.  And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.
 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Monday, November 15, 2021
Reading (1 Maccabees 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-64)
 From them came forth a sinful root, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus; he had been a hostage in Rome. He began to reign in the one hundred thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.
 In those days certain renegades came out from Israel and misled many, saying, “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles around us, for since we separated from them many disasters have come upon us.”
 This proposal pleased them,  and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles.
 So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom,  and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.
 Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,  and that all should give up their particular customs.
 All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.
 Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year, they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offering.
They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah,  and offered incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.
 The books of the law that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire.  Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death by decree of the king.
 But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food.
 They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.  Very great wrath came upon Israel.
Gospel (Luke 18:35-43)
 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening.
 They told him, “Yeshua of Nazareth[a] is passing by.”  Then he shouted, “Yeshua, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
 Yeshua stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him,  “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.”
[42 Yeshua said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.”  Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
Sunday, November 14, 2021
First Reading (Daniel 12:1-3)
 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
Second Reading (Hebrews 10:11-14, 18)
 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Gospel (Mark 13:24-32)
 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Saturday, November 13, 2021
Reading (Wisdom 18:14-16; 19:6-9)
 The short night was half over, and all was quiet and peaceful,  when suddenly your threats were carried out! An invincible word of judgment sped from your royal throne in heaven, straight down to that doomed land.
It came like a soldier in fierce attack,  carrying out your firm command with a fearful weapon, standing with feet on the ground and head touching the sky, filling the land with death.
[19:6] The whole nature of the universe was changed at your command so that your people would not be harmed.  They saw the cloud over their camp and dry land where water had been.
There was a grass-covered plain between the stormy waves of the Red Sea, making it easy for them to cross over.  All your people, under your protection, saw this miracle and went across.
 They pranced about like horses let out to pasture; they skipped about like lambs and praised you, Lord, for saving them.
Gospel (Luke 18:1-8)
 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Friday, November 12, 2021
Reading (Wisdom 13:1-9)
 Anyone who does not know God is simply foolish. Such people look at the good things around them and still fail to see the living God. They have studied the things he made, but they have not recognized the one who made them.
 Instead, they suppose that the gods who rule the world are fire or wind or storm or the circling stars or rushing water or the heavenly bodies.
 People were so delighted with the beauty of these things that they thought they must be gods, but they should have realized that these things have a master and that he is much greater than all of them, for he is the creator of beauty, and he created them.
 Since people are amazed at the power of these things, and how they behave, they ought to learn from them that their maker is far more powerful.  When we realize how vast and beautiful the creation is, we are learning about the Creator at the same time.
 But maybe we are too harsh with these people. After all, they may have really wanted to find God, but couldn’t.  Surrounded by God’s works, they keep on looking at them, until they are finally convinced that because the things they see are so beautiful, they must be gods.
 But still, these people really have no excuse.  If they had enough intelligence to speculate about the nature of the universe, why did they never find the Lord of all things?
Gospel (Luke 17:26-37)
 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
 Remember Lot’s wife.  Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Reading (Wisdom 7:22 – 8:1)
 because Wisdom, who gave shape to everything that exists, was my teacher. The spirit of Wisdom is intelligent and holy. It is of one nature but reveals itself in many ways.
It is not made of any material substance, and it moves about freely. It is clear, clean, and confident; it cannot be harmed. It loves what is good. It is sharp and unconquerable,  kind, and a friend of humanity.
It is dependable and sure, and has no worries. It has power over everything, and sees everything. It penetrates every spirit that is intelligent and pure, no matter how delicate its substance may be.
 Wisdom moves more easily than motion itself; she is so pure that she penetrates everything.  She is a breath of God’s power—a pure and radiant stream of glory from the Almighty. Nothing that is defiled can ever steal its way into Wisdom.
 She is a reflection of eternal light, a perfect mirror of God’s activity and goodness.  Even though Wisdom acts alone, she can do anything. She makes everything new, although she herself never changes.
From generation to generation she enters the souls of holy people, and makes them God’s friends and prophets.  There is nothing that God loves more than people who are at home with Wisdom.
 Wisdom is more beautiful than the sun and all the constellations. She is better than light itself,  because night always follows day, but evil never overcomes Wisdom.
[8:1] Her great power reaches into every part of the world, and she sets everything in useful order.
Gospel (Luke 17:20-25)
 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.