Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Malachi 3:19-20
The day of justice is coming, says the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 98:5-6,7-8,9
Sing praise to God, who rules with justice.

Second Reading
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Paul urges the community to follow his example and to earn their keep.

Gospel Reading
Luke 21:5-19
Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and warns his followers that persecution will come before the end time.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In the context of Luke, today’s Gospel appears near the end of Jesus’ teaching in Jerusalem, just prior to the events that will lead to his crucifixion. His warnings and predictions are ominous but can be read in many ways.

To those who first heard Luke’s Gospel, those may have been words of encouragement. The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans was history (70 A.D.); Luke’s Gospel, Catholic scholars propose, was written between 80 and 90 A.D. His audience was probably Gentile Christians. Luke here tries to interpret the fall of Jerusalem for them and to locate it in God’s plans for humankind (salvation history). At the same time, Luke is suggesting to his audience that there will be a considerable elapse of time before Jesus’ final coming. Luke’s listeners have likely seen much upheaval and are anxious to know if these are the signs of Jesus’ coming. Luke is urging greater patience.

In the second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus warns that his followers will face persecution for their beliefs. Luke presents persecution as an opportunity for the followers of Jesus for “It will lead to your giving testimony” (Luke 21:13). In persecution God’s wisdom and power will be shown in the example of followers of Jesus. Perseverance in the face of persecution will lead to their salvation.

Here Jesus is assuring his followers that God is present to all believers, even in times of trouble. Ultimately, Jesus will witness to this with his own death. As disciples of Jesus, we try to follow his example, trusting in God’s mercy and protection, even when we are facing difficulties.-loyolapress.com

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14
Jewish martyrs give witness to their faith, even unto death.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 17:1,5-6,8,15
The just person will live in God’s presence.

Second Reading
2 Thessalonians 2:16—3:5
Paul encourages the Thessalonians and asks for their prayers.

Gospel Reading
Luke 20:27-38
Jesus answers a question from some Sadducees about the resurrection of the dead. (short form Luke 20:27, 34-38)

Background on the Gospel Reading

In today’s Gospel, we hear about an encounter between Jesus and some Sadducees. The Sadducees were a party of Judaism active in Jesus’ time, descended from the priestly family of Zadok. They were literal interpreters of the written Law of Moses, which means that they were in disagreement with the position of the Pharisees, who offered an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses.

The Sadducees are described in this Gospel as opponents to the belief in resurrection. In the dialogue presented here, we see an example of the means of disputation that was common in first century Judaism. The Sadducees use the example of Levirate marriage, found in the Law of Moses, to disprove belief in the resurrection. According to Deuteronomy 25:5-10, if a man died without producing an heir, the man’s brother should marry his wife and the offspring of this union would inherit the property and carry on the name of the man who had died. The Sadducees use this as an example to challenge belief in the resurrection.

Jesus argues from the same written Law of Moses to show that there is resurrection. Using the texts from the Book of Exodus (Chapter 3) that describe Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush, Jesus shows that God is the God of the living, not the dead. Here Jesus uses the same method and texts of the Sadducees to counter them. As the Gospel text suggests, he beat them at their own game!

More importantly, in this discourse Jesus shows the limits of our imaginations when it comes to eternal life. The Sadducees argued against resurrection because of the limits of earthly existence. They did not imagine another possibility for existence and relationship with God. Jesus proposes that the possibilities of resurrected life are beyond our imaginations. Jesus’ conclusion suggests something else as well: To spend time worrying about resurrected life is to miss the point. The point is eternal relationship with God is possible, for God is the God of the living, “. . . for to him all are alive.”loyolapress.com

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Wisdom 11:22—12:2
God is merciful because all things were created by God.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145:1-2,8-9,10-11,13,14
Sing praise to God, who is faithful.

Second Reading
2 Thessalonians 1:11—2:2
Paul tells the Thessalonians to remain faithful to Christ until Christ comes again.

Gospel Reading
Luke 19:1-10
Jesus stays at the house of Zacchaeus, the tax collector.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were not popular people. They were collaborators with the Romans and were despised by many Jewish people. The tax system allowed them to charge more than what was required so that they could make a profit for themselves. Thus, they were considered sinners by their countrymen. Observers in the crowd that day grumble because Jesus dines with a sinner. Throughout Scripture, Jesus’ choice of dinner companions set him apart from other observant Jews of his time. In first century Jewish culture, to dine together was to show a bond of fellowship and peace among those at the table. Observant Jews did not generally dine with foreigners and sinners. Yet, Jesus chooses to honor the tax collector, Zacchaeus, by staying at his house.

Even before Jesus comes to his home, Zacchaeus shows himself to be someone in search of salvation. Zacchaeus, described as short in stature, climbs a tree in order to see Jesus. We know from Luke’s description that Zacchaeus was no ordinary tax collector; he was, in fact, the chief tax collector and a person of some wealth. In his search for salvation, he humbled himself by making a spectacle of himself by climbing a tree.

Jesus recognizes the faith of this tax collector exhibited in his search for salvation and calls him down from the tree. In the hospitality he extends to Jesus and in his conversion of heart, Zacchaeus is raised up by Jesus as a model of salvation.- loyolapress.com

Pope Francis’ December 2019 Intention

The Future of the Very Young
That every country take the measures necessary to prioritize the future of the very young, especially those who are suffering.

Prayer

Father of Goodness,
the birth of your Son Jesus opens a new time to the world,
a time of hope and peace.
We pray for children and adolescents,
especially those who live discouraged by their difficulties and sufferings,
who do not find opportunities to develop, feel enthusiasm for the future,
nor the support they need to have a decent life.
Help us to give them a bright future,
embracing with love the children and adolescents of today,
so they can transform the world that you have created
in a space of life and fraternity among all.
Our Father…

Liturgical Feasts/ Anniversaries/ Observances

(Legend: Ab=Abbot  Ap=Apostle  Pp=Pope  Bp=Bishop  Ch=Children  De=Deacon  Dr=Doctor  Kg=King Ma=Married  Mt=Martyr  Pr=Priest  Qu=Queen Re=Religious Vg=Virgin Fd=Founder, Hm=Hermit)

Dec 01: 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 03: FRANCIS XAVIER**(pR)

Dec 04: John Damascene (Pr, Dr)

Dec 06: Nicholas (Bp)

Dec 07: Ambrose* (Bp, Dr)

Dec 08: 2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 09: IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY***

Dec 11: Damasus I, Pp

Dec 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dec 13: LUCY* (Vg, Mt)

Dec 14: JOHN OF THE CROSS* (Pr, Dr)

Dec 15: 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 21: Peter Canisius (Pr, Dr)

Dec 22: 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 23: John of Kanty

DEC 25: CHRISTMAS DAY

Dec 26: STEPHEN, FIRST MARTYR**

Dec 27: JOHN THE EVANGELIST**(Ap)

Dec 28: THE HOLY INNOCENTS** (Mts)

Dec 29: HOLY FAMILY

Dec 31: Silvester I (Pp)

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Sirach 35:12-14,16-18
God hears the prayer of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 34:2-3,17-18,19, 23
The Lord hears and answers the cry of the poor.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18
Paul perseveres in faith, confident that God will rescue him.

Gospel Reading
Luke 18:9-14
Jesus tells the parable of the proud Pharisee who prayed from his self-importance and the tax collector who prayed humbly.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The second parable that Jesus tells in Luke 18 addresses attitude in prayer. In contrasting the prayer of the Pharisee with the prayer of the tax collector, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in humility before God. Jesus again surprises his listeners by showing the tax collector as the example of faith, rather than the Pharisee. Remember that Pharisees were members of a sect of Judaism active in Jesus’ time. They taught an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses as the basis for Jewish piety. If anyone would be a model for prayer, a Pharisee was a likely candidate. In contrast, Jesus offers the tax collector as a model for prayer. Tax collectors were collaborators with the Roman authorities in a system that allowed the tax collectors to line their own pockets by charging in excess of the defined taxes. Yet, in this parable, Jesus offers the humility of the tax collector as a model for the prayer of a disciple. The parable reminds us that when we pray, we must remember our need for God in our lives. If we are too full of ourselves, there is too little room for God’s grace to work in us.- loyolapress.com

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