Catholic readings for November 21, 2023. We are in the liturgical Year 1.

Daily Catholic Readings – November 21, 2023

33rd Week in Ordinary Time

Psalter: Week 1

Readings of the Day

Reading 12 Maccabees 6:18-31
ResponseThe Lord upholds me
GospelLuke 19:1-10

Readings 1

2 Maccabees 6:18-31

In those days: Eleazar, one of the scribes in high position, a man now advanced in age and of noble presence, was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine’s flesh. But he, welcoming death with honour rather than life with pollution, went up to the rack of his own accord, spitting out the flesh, as men ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life. Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside, because of their long acquaintance with him, and privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use, and pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal that had been commanded by the king, so that by doing this he might be saved from death and be treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them. But making a high resolve, worthy of his years and the dignity of his old age and the grey hairs that he had reached with distinction and his excellent life even from childhood, and moreover according to the holy God-given law he declared himself quickly, telling them to send him to the grave. “Such pretence is not worthy of our time of life”, he said, “lest many of the young should suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year has gone over to an alien religion, and through my pretence, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they should be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age. For even if for the present I should avoid the punishment of men, yet whether I live or die I shall not escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old age and leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws.” When he had said this, he went at once to the rack. And those who a little before had acted towards him with good will now changed to ill will, because the words he had uttered were in their opinion sheer madness. When he was about to die under that blows, he groaned aloud and said: “It is clear to the Lord in his holy knowledge that, though I might have been saved from death, I am enduring terrible sufferings in my body under this beating, but in my soul I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him.” So in this way he died, leaving in his death an example of nobility and a memorial of courage, not only to the young but to the great body of his nation.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7 (R. 6b)

R /. The Lord upholds me.

How many are my foes, O Lord!
How many are rising up against me!
How many are saying about me,
“There is no help for him in God.”

R /. The Lord upholds me.

But you, Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, who lift up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord.
From his holy mountain he answers me.

R /. The Lord upholds me.

I lie down, I sleep and I wake,
for the Lord upholds me.
I will not fear even thousands of people
who are ranged on every side against me.
Arise, Lord; save me, my God.

R /. The Lord upholds me.


V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. God loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


✠.Luke 19:1-10

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”


The story of Zacchaeus is a great source of consolation and encouragement for all. For God’s grace accepts and graces us despite our unworthiness and failures. Zacchaeus, being a tax collector was labelled as a sinner and was despised.

Yet Jesus was not conditioned by these human considerations, calculations, or labels. He is not prejudiced. He is not resentful or judgmental. He does not condemn him but readily offers his mercy and salvation.

For his part, Zacchaeus does his homework. He nurtures a profound desire and motivation to see Jesus. He is not discouraged by the obstacles of his shortness and crowd; he takes the trouble to surpass these blocks by placing himself on high climbing a sycamore tree. He encounters Jesus. He responds to Jesus’ invitation to be his guest and celebrates his presence with a banquet.

He undergoes a deep conversion. He testifies his conversion by a concrete and abundantly generous act of renouncing and sharing: half of his property with the poor, and fourfold repay to all those defrauded.

Thus, he truly deserves the blessing and salvation of God. Jesus pronounces the heart-soothing words: “Today, salvation has come to this house. He too is a son of Abraham”. It is not just a blessing and a compliment.

It is the greatest gift that one can expect: He is given a new dignity. He is raised from the low level of being a sinner to the noble status of being a son of Abraham, that is, one of the chosen people. He is blessed with salvation, being saved from the curse of sin.

What is our journey? Do we desire and set out to encounter Jesus, to be touched and transformed by him? How concrete and authentic is our conversion? Very truly, the biggest block in this journey is our tepidity and lukewarmness.