Monday, November 19, 2007
TUESDAY 33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
TUESDAY 33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME - YEAR I
2 MACCABEES 6:18-31
Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes, a man of advanced age and noble
appearance, was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork. But
preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement, he spat out the
meat, and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of
torture, as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the
food which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life. Those in
charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him, and urged him to bring
meat of his own providing, such as he could legitimately eat, and to
pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice prescribed by
the king; in this way he would escape the death penalty, and be
treated kindly because of their old friendship with him. But Eleazar
made up his mind in a noble manner, worthy of his years, the dignity
of his advanced age, the merited distinction of his gray hair, and of
the admirable life he had lived from childhood; and so he declared
that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God. He
told them to send him at once to the abode of the dead,
explaining: "At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a
pretense; many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar
had gone over to an alien religion. Should I thus pretend for the
sake of a brief moment of life, they would be led astray by me, while
I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age. Even if, for the time
being, I avoid the punishment of men, I shall never, whether alive or
dead, escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving
up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will
leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and
generously for the revered and holy laws." Eleazar spoke thus, and
went immediately to the instrument of torture. Those who shortly
before had been kindly disposed, now became hostile toward him
because what he had said seemed to them utter madness. When he was
about to die under the blows, he groaned and said: "The Lord in his
holy knowledge knows full well that, although I could have escaped
death, I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this
scourging, but also suffering it with joy in my soul because of my
devotion to him." This is how he died, leaving in his death a model
of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the
young but for the whole nation.
At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the
town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector
and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he
could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus
looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must
stay at your house." And he came down quickly and received him with
joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, "He has
gone to stay at the house of a sinner." But Zacchaeus stood there
and said to the Lord, "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall
give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall
repay it four times over." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation
has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of
Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was
Today's Gospel is about the change of heart. Zacchaeus was not
happy. He was hated by his countrymen, and in his loneliness, he
turned to Jesus. Although many obstacles stood in the way, his
courage and determination made him succeed, and Jesus rewarded him by
making his house a place to stop over to rest.
Life in our world today is also a constant struggle. Like Zacchaeus,
a clear vision of our objectives in life, most especially our
commitment to work with Christ in his salvific mission, becomes
attainable despite many obstacles, if only we show the same
determination and perseverance as did Zacchaeus.
There is yet another message for us in today's reading. Zacchaeus'
change of heart was backed by deeds; it was not merely a matter of
words. He made amends for the faults he had committed. True
contrition becomes admirable only when supported by a change of life
as shown through daily deeds.
Finally, if ever a time should come when we find ourselves deep in
loneliness, we can take refuge in the words of Jesus to
Zacchaeus, "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
... for the strength, healing and speedy recovery of:
- Damaso Guevarra, Eligia Fernando, Sr. Belen Latorre, DC
- Bro. Tolentino Sandoval
... Good health: Guevarra Family
... Birthday: Raymund Peralta
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Isabel C.Y. Cu
- Wedding Anniversary: John & Gloria Chua
- In Memoriam (+): Charles Kang Lim (Oct 17, 1960 - Nov 20, 1997)
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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