A reading from the second book of Maccabees 7:1. 20-31
The creator of the world will give you back both breath and life
here were also seven brothers who were arrested with their mother. The king tried to force them to taste pig's flesh, which the Law forbids, by torturing them with whips and scourges.
The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honourable remembrance, for she watched the death of seven sons in the course of a single day, and endured it resolutely because of her hopes in the Lord. Indeed she encouraged each of them in the language of their ancestors; filled with noble conviction, she reinforced her womanly argument with manly courage, saying to them, 'I do not know how you appeared in my womb; it was not I who endowed you with breath and life, I had not the shaping of your every part. It is the creator of the world, ordaining the process of man's birth and presiding over the origin of all things, who in his mercy will most surely give you back both breath and life, seeing that you now despise your own existence for the sake of his laws.'
Antiochus thought he was being ridiculed, suspecting insult in the tone of her voice, and as the youngest was still alive he appealed to him not with mere words but with promises on oath to make him both rich and happy if he would abandon the traditions of his ancestors; he would make him his Friend and entrust him with public office. The young man took no notice at all, and so the king then appealed to the mother, urging her to advise the youth to save his life. After a great deal of urging on his part she agreed to try persuasion on her son. Bending over him, she fooled the cruel tyrant with these words, uttered in the language of their ancestors, 'My son, have pity on me; I carried you nine months in my womb and suckled you three years, fed you and reared you to the age you are now (and cherished you). I implore you, my child, observe heaven and earth, consider all that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of what did not exist, and that mankind comes into being in the same way. Do not fear this executioner, but prove yourself worthy of your brothers, and make death welcome, so that in the day of mercy I may receive you back in your brothers' company.'
She had scarcely ended when the young man said, 'What are you all waiting for? I will not comply with the king's ordinance; I obey the ordinance of the Law given to our ancestors through Moses. As for you, sir, who have contrived every kind of evil against the Hebrews, you will certainly not escape the hands of God.'
The Word of the Lord
Responsorial Psalm Ps 16
Response I shall be filled, when I wake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.
I. Lord, hear a cause that is just,
pay heed to my cry.
Turn your ear to my prayer:
no deceit is on my lips. Response
2. I kept my feet firmly in your paths;
there was no faltering in my steps.
I am here and I call, you will hear me, O God.
Turn your ear to me; hear my words. Response
3. Guard me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
As for me, in my justice I shall see your face
and be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory. Response
Gospel Acclamation 1Jn 2: 5
When anyone obeys what Christ has said
God's love comes to perfection in him.
Jn 15: 16
I chose you from the world
to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 19:11-28
Why did you not put my money in the bank?
hile the people were listening to this he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and they imagined that the kingdom of God was going to show itself then and there. Accordingly he said, 'A man of noble birth went to a distant country to be appointed king and afterwards return. He summoned ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds. "Do business with these" he told them "until I get back." But his compatriots detested him and sent a delegation to follow him with this message, "We do not want this man to be our king."
Now on his return, having received his appointment as king, he sent for those servants to whom he had given the money, to find out what profit each had made. The first came in and said, "Sir, your one pound has brought in ten." Well done, my good servant!" he replied "Since you have proved yourself faithful in a very small thing, you shall have the government of ten cities.". Then came the second and said, "Sir, your one pound has made five". To this one also he said, "And you shall be in charge of five cities." Next came the other and said, "Sir, here is your pound. I put it away safely in a piece of linen because I was afraid of you; for you are an exacting man: you pick up what you have not put down and reap what you have not sown." "You wicked servant!" he said "Out of your own mouth I condemn you. So you knew I was an exacting man, picking up what I have not put down and reaping what I have not sown? Then why did you not put my money in the bank? On my return I could have drawn it out with interest." And he said to those standing by, "Take the pound from him and give it to the man who has ten pounds." And they said to him, "But, sir, he has ten pounds . . ." "I tell you, to everyone who has will be given more; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
'"But as for my enemies who did not want me for their king, bring them here and execute them in my presence."'
When he had said this he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Wednesday, Thirty Third Week in Ordinary Time Luke 19:11-28
There is a pattern of three in many the parables that Jesus told, with a focus on the third character. The parable of the Good Samaritan presents the response of the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan to the presence of a broken traveller, and the focus in that parable was on the Samaritan. In this morning’s parable there is a focus on three of the ten servants to whom a man of noble birth entrusted one pound each, and the focus is again on the third character, the servant who did nothing with what his master had given him. Whereas in the parable of the Good Samaritan, the third character is the hero, in this parable the third character is the villain. The Samaritan exemplifies what we are to do; the third servant in this morning’s gospel reading exemplifies what we are not to do. He did nothing with what was given to him out of fear. The parable suggests that fear should never govern our relationship with the Lord; that relationship is to be governed by love, and as the first letter of John says, ‘Perfect love drives out all fear’. It is because we have been loved by the Lord that we love him in return, and we express our love by placing the gifts the Lord has given us at the service of the Lord and his people. Every day is an opportunity for that creative service of the Lord which springs from love.
The scripture readings are taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with the permission of the publishers. The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan
published by The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie