Readings and Reflection for November 18, Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time


A reading from the First Book of Maccabees (1Maccabees 2: 15-29)
“We will live by the covenant of our fathers.”

In those days; The king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the city of Modein to make them offer sacrifice. Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons were assembled. Then the king’s officers spoke to Mattathias as follows: “You are a leader, honoured and great in this city, and supported by sons and brothers. Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honoured with silver and gold and many gifts.” But Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: “Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to do his commandments, departing each one from the religion of his fathers, yet I and my sons and my brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. We will not obey the king’s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.” When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice upon the altar in Modein, according to the king’s command. When Mattathias saw it, he burnt with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar. At the same time he killed the king’s officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. Thus he burnt with zeal for the law, as Phinehas did against Zimri the son of Salu. Then Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: “Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!” And he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the city. Then many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to dwell there.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 50: 1-2.5-6.14-15 (R. 23bc)
R/. To one whose way is blameless, I will show the salvation of God.

“The God of gods, the Lord,
has spoken and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Sion, the perfection of beauty,
God is shining forth.” R/.

“Gather my holy ones to me,
who made covenant with me by sacrifice.”
The heavens proclaim his justice,
for he, God, is the judge. R/.

R/. To one whose way is blameless, I will show the salvation of God.

“Give your praise as a sacrifice to God,
and fulfil your vows to the Most High.
Then call on me in the day of distress.
I will deliver you and you shall honour me.” R.

ALLELUIA Psalm 95:7d.8a
Alleluia. Today, harden not your hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord. Alleluia.

“Would that you knew the things that make for peace!”
A reading from the Gospel of Luke (Luke19:41- 44)

At that time: When Jesus drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today we see Jesus’ power over principalities and powers: he rebukes and casts out demons. This reading is especially relevant in our day, as fear is a tool of many churches and pastors to hold on to their followers or extort money from them. Christianity as practiced today seems to resurrect the negatives of the African Traditional Religion. Rather than preach God’s love and the power of his love over any and every other power, we multiply the number of demons and malicious spirits so that the average Christian sees everything negative as caused by one demon or another, needing to be dispelled through monetary sacrifice or sowing of some seed. No! Christianity is not about fear, but love; love is more powerful than death itself.


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