READINGS for 2007-11-24
THE REAL QUESTION IS…
Some Sadducees… put this question to him. – Luke 20:27-28
“How come this is happening to our family? I haven’t hurt nor done anything bad to anybody.
I never forget to pray. I even go to Baclaran every Wednesday and sometimes to Quiapo Church on Fridays. Why does God seem to punish me?” This was what my aunt told my mom during one of their phone conversations.
My aunt lives in the province together with her husband who has Parkinson’s disease. Her two children are both in the U.S. with their respective families. Her son underwent five operations two years ago and is soon to have a sixth. Since he is always on leave, he no longer receives any salary. Both her children are still paying for their car and home amortizations sothey seldom send her financial support. Due to too much worrying, my aunt suffers from high blood pressure and other diseases.
In today’s Gospel, the Sadducees posed a question to Jesus. Jesus’ answer touched the real issue and not the surface one. Often, the spoken question is not a test of our ability to answer hard questions, but of our willingness to listen and care. Maybe my aunt doesn’t really want to know the reason behind her “misfortunes.” My guess is she just wants the support of her family and their tender loving care. Judith C.
Do you listen well?
Teach me to read between the lines and learn to answer the real question.
1 Maccabees 6:1-13
Perhaps the conscience of Antiochus is troubling him. Well, so it should, he is an immoral and cruel tyrant! All the prizes of conquest and plunder have not brought him happiness. We know that our true happiness lies not in this life but in the next one. That is why we ought to heed the Gospel call to be detached from all earthly belongings and to ensure that we are storing up blessings in heaven and not here on earth where they will pass away.
1 As King Antiochus was traversing the inland provinces, he heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais, famous for its wealth in silver and gold, 2 and that its temple was very rich, containing gold helmets, breastplates, and weapons left there by Alexander, son of Philip, king of Macedon, the first king of the Greeks. 3 He went therefore and tried to capture and pillage the city. But he could not do so, because his plan became known to the people of the city 4 who rose up in battle against him. So he retreated and in great dismay withdrew from there to return to Babylon. 5 While he was in Persia, a messenger brought him news that the armies sent into the land of Judah had been put to flight; 6 that Lysias had gone at first with a strong army and been driven back by the Israelites; that they had grown strong by reason of the arms, men, and abundant possessions taken from the armies they had destroyed; 7 that they had pulled down the Abomination which he had built upon the altar in Jerusalem; and that they had surrounded with high walls both the sanctuary, as it had been before, and his city of Beth-zur. 8 When the king heard this news, he was struck with fear and very much shaken. Sick with grief because his designs had failed, he took to his bed. 9 There he remained many days, overwhelmed with sorrow, for he knew he was going to die. 10 So he called in all his Friends and said to them: “Sleep has departed from my eyes, for my heart is sinking with anxiety. 11 I said to myself: ‘Into what tribulation have I come, and in what floods of sorrow am I now! 12 Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.’ But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem, when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver that were in it, and for no cause gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed. 13 I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me; and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land.”
P S A L M
Psalm 9:2-3, 4, 6, 16, 19
R: I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
1  I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will declare all your wondrous deeds. 2  I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, Most High. (R) 3  Because my enemies are turned back, overthrown and destroyed before you. 5  You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; their name you blotted out forever and ever. (R) 15  The ations are sunk in the pit they have made; in the snare they set, their foot is caught. 18  For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor shall the hope of the afflicted forever perish. (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus chastises the ones who are asking the question because they are clearly trying to trip him up and are not really serious about the question. Nevertheless, he still has an answer for them and it is one that should make us all think a little bit! God remains the God of a living Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which is a clear affirmation that they are still alive with Him. Thus the resurrection is a reality that we have to take into account. So much for the ideas that there is no such thing as the resurrection from the dead!
27 Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to him, 28 saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ 29 Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. 30 Then the second 31 and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. 32 Finally the woman also died. 33 Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.” 34 Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; 35 but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. 37 That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; 38 and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” 39 Some of the scribes said in reply, “Teacher, you have answered well.” 40 And they no longer dared to ask him anything.
think: We know that our true happiness lies not in this life but in the next one.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Acts 19-21
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint Leo the Great
Saint Leo the Great succeeded the pontificate from Pope Sixtus. During his papacy in the fifth century, the Church was in difficult times. Barbarians continued to attack Christians from all over and people spread errors about the faith. Pope Leo trusted the help of Saint Peter the apostle. He fervently prayed to the first pope of the Catholic Church. And to end these false teachings, the saint spread the true faith through his writings. He put out of the Church those who would not believe but warmly welcomed those who were sorry.
When an army of Barbaric Huns attacked Rome, the people lived in fear. The brave pope set out to meet their pagan leader, Attila. Saint Leo brought nothing with him but his faith and trust in God. To the people s surprise, the cruel leader showed the pope great honor. Attila agreed to have a treaty of peace with him. When asked, Attila declared that two mighty figures stood by the pope when he spoke. People believed it was the great apostles Peter and Paul.
In his 21 years in the pontificate, Pope Leo was noted for his humility and charity.
He was loved by all.
Pope Leo the Great died on November 10, 461.
Saint Vitus, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, was claimed to be the son of a pagan Sicilian senator. Through the influence of his tutor Saint Modestus and his nurse Saint Crescentia, the boy converted into Christianity when he was 12. His father was abhorred by his decision. He had the three arrested then scourged. According to stories, an angel came and freed the three prisoners. They fled to Lucania then Rome. During that time, the son of Emperor Diocletian was possessed by an evil spirit. Vitus came and freed him from the possession. When he refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods, the emperor assumed that his power was caused by sorcery. As a result, Vitus together with Modestus and Crescentia was put in prison.
They were tortured then condemned to death. The three were thrown into a den of lions. Since the lions would not touch them, the emperor decided that they be thrown into boiling oil.
It was said that upon the martyr s death, a violent storm destroyed several pagan temples in the region.
GOD FILLS US UP
The Apostle Paul once wrote:
“None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14: 7-9. 10-12). I believe that beyond the issue of a problematic eternal consequence of a multiple marriage, beyond even the issue of Resurrection, what Jesus proclaims in our midst is this: GOD THROUGH CHRIST JESUS IS OUR GREAT COMPANION AND FRIEND EVERY MOMENT , FROM RISING TO BED-TIME, FROM BIRTH THROUGH LIFE… THROUGH DEATH AND NEW LIFE. This is what Jesus meant when he declared:
“God is the God not of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
This was God’s original plan in Eden with Adam and Eve: friendship.
In fact, even on earth, Scriptures say: God walked with Abraham, God walked with Moses. In Jesus, God reaches out to us as Emmanuel: Godwho- is-Us.
Authentic and deep relationship with God then makes all other relationships secondary! One may be married, another may be celibate, some others may be widows. All find true joy in God. Fr. Domie, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTION: JESUS, we are afraid of being alone… of walking alone in this life. At a very young age, we were made to understand that we should never cross the street alone. The best way to cross life’s many streets is by holding hands with one another. It strikes me now: many times in the Gospels, you assured your disciples “Do not be afraid… It is I.” Jesus, I do not know what lies ahead with my walk in life. One thing I ask: walk by me. Be my best friend. Amen.
I rejoice, Lord, that You want to fill my heart up with joy and with Your presence.
St. Felicissimus, martyr, pray for us.
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