Daily Catholic Readings – November 22, 2023
33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Psalter: Week 1
Readings of the Day
|Reading 1||2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31|
|Response||When I awake, O Lord, I shall be filled with the vision of your presence.|
|Gospel||Luke 19:11-28|Readings 1
2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31
It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and cords, to partake of unlawful swine’s flesh. 20 The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21 She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman’s reasoning with a man’s courage, and said to them, 22 “I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws.”24 Anti′ochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Anti′ochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25 Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26 After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27 But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: “My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. 28 I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. 29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God’s mercy I may get you back again with your brothers.”30 While she was still speaking, the young man said, “What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king’s command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. 31 But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God.
Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8 and 15 (R. 15b)
R /. When I awake, O Lord, I shall be filled with the vision of your presence.
O Lord, hear a cause that is just;
pay heed to my cry.
Turn your ear to my prayer:
no deceit is on my lips. R /.
I kept my steps firmly in your paths.
My feet have never faltered.
To you I call; for you will surely heed me, O God.
Turn your ear to me; hear my words. R /.
Guard me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
As for me, in justice I shall behold your face;
when I awake I shall be filled
with the vision of your presence.R /.
V/. I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, says the Lord.
11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
In the gospel, we have the famous parable of talents. Usually, it is interpreted as encouraging and challenging us to discover and develop our talents. This is a valid direction of reflection. But we can expand it a little more. We can apply it to the whole life in its entirety.
The gospel mentions “a nobleman who goes to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.” This can very well indicate Jesus himself. He is sent by the Father from heaven to the far country of the earth to establish his kingdom and then return.
As the nobleman in the parable is hated by his citizens, so too Jesus was hated by his own people, the Pharisees, and scribes. Just as the people sent a delegation after him, saying, “We do not want this man to reign over us,” so too Jesus’ people constantly reject him, resisting his reign over them.
Now, just as the nobleman entrusted one mina each to ten of his servants before he left, so too Jesus is entrusting the riches of his blessings, the treasure of his grace. In difference to Matthew 25. 14-30 where the master gives 5, 2, and 1 talents to three of his servants, here in Luke, ten servants are given equally, one each mina.
The point is clear: all of us are given God’s spiritual riches. There is no exemption, exclusion or discrimination concerning God’s grace. We are blessed with varied talents. We are expected to put them to use and to be responsible and diligent. We must be productive and bring out abundant fruits.
On his return, the Lord would see a reckoning. The first two prospered one mina into 10 and 5 respectively. They are appreciated and rewarded richly with 10 and 5 respectively. Their fidelity in small things brings a rich reward. But the last one hid it unused in a handkerchief and gave it back to the master.