Scripture: Lectionary 499. Nov. 20. II Maccabees 7:1-20:13. Psalm 17:1,5-6,8.15. Luke 19:11-28.
Belief in the resurrection and God’s fidelity to his people helps the mother of seven boys to be courageous in the trial afflicted on her by Antiochus, the Greek tyrant who oppressed her Jewish nation and its peoples. She, like Eleazar, in yesterday’s readings trusts absolutely in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All of her sons follow suit in refusing to eat pork, an unclean meat for her and her sons. She is a model that even surpasses Eleazar’s heroism, for she suffers seven times through her sons dying for the faith and then is martyred after them. The text of II Maccabees tells us she hoped in her Lord God and believed that he sons would live in the heavens with God. She would also join them after her death.
Psalm 17 captures the spirit and bravery of the family in the following verse: “My steps have been steadfast in your paths, my feet have not faltered (Psalm 17:5). The line that hints of the resurrection reads: “Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full (Psalm 17:15). God protects this holy woman and her sons and shields the pupils of their eyes or as an eagle that gently protects its young and carries them on its wings. Images from nature are present in this psalm that predicts both the protection and the threats that menace these servants of God. They desire to see the face of God, for only then will they be at peace. Do we not sometimes feel oppression and opposition in our lives? We can learn how to deal with this through praying this psalm with hearts burning with faith.
In today’s Gospel selection from Luke we learn how Jesus after leaving Jericho is now on the road up to Jerusalem. The long journey that began in Luke 9:51 comes to its conclusion in Luke 19:28. Jesus tells us the parable of the pounds and the rewards for those servants who have used them well and increased them ten fold and five fold. Only the one servant who did not increase the value of what was entrusted to them is the one who no longer is able to be with the master. Now, we who live today, are to open God’s revelatory word and share the Good News of God’s love and generosity toward all peoples. We cannot hide these gifts nor should our Church keep others from enjoying the graces and gifts of God. We can begin preparing for Thanksgiving Day by thanking God today through these Scriptures and through the Eucharist which means the Act of Thanksgiving. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.