Tuesday 21 November 2023
Presentation of BV Maria (m); St. Agapius; St. Gelasius I
33.a of Ordinary Time
2Mac 6,18-31; Ps 3; Luke 19.1-10
The Lord supports me
“Today I have to stop at your house.” You are the one who knocks on the door and invites me, God of surprises, of rising, of awakenings. For my home is your home. How will you find me when you come, in what internal disorder? Let me prepare to receive my lover.
The Lord says: “I have plans for peace and not for misfortune; you will call upon me and I will hear you, and will bring you back from all the places where I have scattered you.” (Jer 29,11.12.14)
May your help, Lord, always make us happy in your service, because only in dedication to you, the source of all good, can we have full and lasting happiness. By our Lord Jesus Christ…
I will leave young people with a noble example, so that they know how to face death for the holy and venerable laws.
From the second book of Maccabees 2Mac 6,18-31
In those days, a certain Eleazar, one of the most esteemed scribes, a man already advanced in years and very dignified in his personal appearance, was forced to open his mouth and swallow pig meat. But he, preferring a glorious death to an ignominious life, voluntarily set out for the torture, spitting out the morsel and behaving as befits those who are ready to distance themselves from what is not permitted to be enjoyed due to attachment to life. Those in charge of the illicit sacrificial banquet, in the name of the long-standing familiarity they had with this man, pulled him aside and begged him to take the meat he was allowed to eat, prepared by himself, and pretend to eat the sacrificed meats imposed by the king, because, by acting in this way, he would escape death and find humanity
in the name of the ancient friendship he had with them. But he, making a noble reasoning, worthy of his age and the prestige of old age, of the venerable gray hair he had achieved and of the irreproachable conduct he had maintained since childhood, but especially of the holy laws established by God, immediately responded by saying that they should send him to his death. «Since – he said – it is not at all worthy of our age to pretend, with the danger that many young people, thinking that at the age of ninety Eleazar has passed to foreign customs, in turn, due to my pretense, for a small and very brief existence, are lost because of me and I thus bring dishonor and stain to my old age. Indeed, even if I now escaped the punishment of men, I could not escape, neither alive nor dead, from the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, abandoning this life now as a strong man, I will show myself worthy of my age and leave the young people a n! noble example, so that they know how to face death promptly and nobly for the holy and venerable laws”. Having said these words, he promptly went to the execution. Those who dragged him there changed their previous benevolence into aversion, believing that the words he spoke were madness. As he was about to die under the blows, he said between groans: «The Lord, who possesses a holy knowledge, knows well that, being able to escape death, I suffer atrocious pain in my body under the scourges, but in my soul I willingly endure all this to fear of him.” Thus he died, leaving his death as an example of nobility and a reminder of virtue not only to the young, but also to the great majority of the nation.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM (From Psalm 3)
A. The Lord supports me.
Lord, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me.
Many say about my life:
«For him there is no salvation in God!». R.
But you are my shield, Lord,
you are my glory and hold my head high.
I cry out loud to the Lord
and he answers me from his holy mountain. R.
I lie down, fall asleep and wake up:
the Lord supports me.
I’m not afraid of large crowds
that camped around me. R.
SONG TO THE GOSPEL (cf. 1Jn 4.10)
R. Hallelujah, hallelujah.
God loved us and sent his Son
as a victim of expiation for our sins.
The Son of Man had come to seek and save what was lost.
+ From the Gospel according to Luke 19,1-10
At that time, Jesus entered the city of Jericho and was passing through it, when behold, a man named Zacchaeus, chief of the tax collectors and a rich man, was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was unable to do so because of the crowd, because he was small. of stature. He then ran forward and, to be able to see him, he climbed a sycamore tree, because he had to pass that way. When he arrived at the place, Jesus looked up and said to him: «Zacchaeus, come down immediately, because today I have to stop at your house». He quickly came down and welcomed him full of joy. Seeing this, everyone murmured: “He has entered the house of a sinner!”. But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord: “Behold, Lord, I give half of what I possess to the poor, and if I have stolen from anyone, I will pay back four times as much.” Jesus answered him: «Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Word of the Lord.
The Gospel presents to us the episode of little Zacchaeus, leader of the tax collectors and a rich man, who was trying to see Jesus. As long as he remains confused among the crowd, due to his small stature, and not only for this reason, he is not allowed to see . First he must rise by climbing a tree and then he will have to quickly descend to welcome into his home the One he was looking for while hiding among the branches. He just wanted to see Jesus and then he hears his name called, invited by Jesus to come down quickly “because today I have to stop at your house”. The Lord gives us much more than we dare hope for from him. Zacchaeus, although rich in money, knows he is a poor sinner, he will then humbly confess it to the divine guest. His objective was only to see what Jesus was. Never, ever would he have dreamed of being able to have him as a guest in his house; even less
he could remotely hope for the fruits of grace that would then flow from that meeting. The presence of the Lord will move his conscience to recognize his own sins and the injustices committed, he will then feel the need to entrust his mistakes to the mercy of the Lord, he will feel committed to repairing the wrongdoing and the stolen goods, he will feel internally moved to solidarity towards the poor, then he will listen with emotion to forgiveness and complete absolution: “today salvation has entered this house”. The conclusion of the Gospel passage opens our hearts to hope: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Who among us has not already experienced and risks losing ourselves in experiencing? Jesus is already looking for us to save us! (Silvestrine Fathers)
PRAYER ON OFFERINGS
May this offering that we present to you, almighty God, obtain for us the grace to serve you faithfully and prepare for us the fruit of a blessed eternity. Through Christ our Lord.
ANTIPHON TO COMMUNION
The Lord says: “Truly I say to you: whatever you ask for in prayer, have faith that you have obtained it and it will be granted to you”. (Mk 11,23.24)
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
Nourished by this sacrament, we humbly pray to you, O Father: may the celebration that your Son commanded to be held in his memory make us grow in love. Through Christ our Lord.
The door is narrow, and you are the door of the only sheepfold. What narrowness is there in you, vaster than the heavens, if not this shrinking of your being to communicate with us, this narrow passage from divinity to humanity for you who remained nine months in the night of your mother’s womb; if not this shrinking of anguish so that you can grasp the suffocating narrowness of fallen humanity? The well-formed disciple is similar to his master, and if you expand us and put us out into the open we can make the economy of this crossing into suffering humanity, of this crossing of your pierced heart for the salvation of the human race.