Tuesday, November 19, 2013


A Prayer for a Deceased Mother

O God,
who hast commanded us to honor our father and our mother;
in Thy mercy have pity on the soul of my mother,
and forgive her her trespasses;
and make me to see her again in the joy of everlasting brightness.
Through Christ our Lord.



Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

2 MC 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.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. The Lord upholds me.

O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”

R. The Lord upholds me.

But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.

R. The Lord upholds me.

When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.

R. The Lord upholds me.

LK 19:1-10

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 lost.”


November 19

St. Agnes of Assisi (1197-1253)

Agnes was the sister of St. Clare and her first follower. When Agnes left home two weeks after Clare’s departure, their family attempted to bring Agnes back by force. They tried to drag her out of the monastery, but all of a sudden her body became so heavy that several knights could not budge it. Her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was temporarily paralyzed. The knights then left Agnes and Clare in peace.

Agnes matched her sister in devotion to prayer and in willingness to endure the strict penances which characterized their lives at San Damiano. In 1221 a group of Benedictine nuns in Monticelli (near Florence) asked to become Poor Clares. St. Clare sent Agnes to become abbess of that monastery. Agnes soon wrote a rather sad letter about how much she missed Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. After establishing other Poor Clare monasteries in northern Italy, Agnes was recalled to San Damiano in 1253 when Clare was dying.

Agnes followed Clare in death three months later. Agnes was canonized in 1753.


O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

The Lord is a great king:
come, let us adore him.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

The Lord is a great king:
come, let us adore him.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

The Lord is a great king:
come, let us adore him.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts for ever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

The Lord is a great king:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord is a great king:
come, let us adore him.


Worship, glory, praise and honor
To our God, high-throned above:
We, with many generations
Join to praise thy name of love.
In the scriptures, by the Spirit,
May we see the Savior’s face,
Hear his word and heed his calling,
Know his will and grow in grace.

Psalm 9B (10)

The Lord will protect the rights of the oppressed.

With what purpose, Lord, do you stay away,
hide yourself in time of need and trouble?
The wicked in their pride persecute the weak,
trap them in the plots they have devised.
The sinner glories in his desires,
the miser congratulates himself.
The sinner in his arrogance rejects the Lord:
“there is no God, no retribution.”
This is what he thinks
– and all goes well for him.
Your judgements are far beyond his comprehension:
he despises all who stand against him.
The sinner says to himself: “I will stand firm;
nothing can touch me, from generation to generation.”
His mouth is full of malice and deceit,
under his tongue hide trouble and distress.
He lies in ambush by the villages,
he kills the innocent in some secret place.
He watches the weak,
he hides like a lion in its lair, and makes plans.
He plans to rob the weak,
lure him to his trap and rob him.
He rushes in, makes a dive,
and the poor victim is caught.
For he has said to himself, “God has forgotten.
He is not watching, he will never see.”

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord will protect the rights of the oppressed.

Psalm 9B (10)

Lord, you have seen our trouble and our sorrow.

Rise up, Lord, raise your hand!
Do not forget the weak.
Why does the wicked man spurn God?
Because he says to himself, “you will not take revenge.”
But you do see: you see the trouble and the pain,
and then you take things into your own hands.
The weak fall to your care,
and you are the help of the orphan.
Break the arms of the sinner and evil-doer:
seek out wickedness until there is no more to be found.
The Lord is King for ever and for ever.
The Gentiles have perished from his land.
You have heard the prayer of the weak, Lord,
and you will strengthen their hearts.
You will lend your ear to the pleas of the orphans and the helpless,
so mere mortals can frighten them no longer.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Lord, you have seen our trouble and our sorrow.

Psalm 11 (12)
A prayer against the proud

The words of the Lord are words without alloy,
silver from the furnace, seven times refined.

Save me, Lord, for the good men are all gone:
there is no-one to be trusted among the sons of men.
Neighbor speaks falsehood to neighbor:
with lying lips and crooked hearts they speak.
Let the Lord condemn all lying lips,
all boastful tongues.
They say “Our tongues will make us great,
our lips are ours, we have no master.”
“On account of the sufferings of the poor,
the groans of the weak, I will rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will bring to safety the one whom men despise.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
silver tried by fire, freed from dross,
silver seven times refined.
You, Lord, will help us
and guard us from now to all eternity –
while the wicked walk round outside,
where the vilest are most honored of the children of men.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The words of the Lord are words without alloy,
silver from the furnace, seven times refined.

The Lord will guide the humble on the right path.
– He will teach his ways to the meek.

First Reading
Zechariah 9:1-10:2

The Lord has passed
through the land of Hadrach
and Damascus is his dwelling-place;
for the cities of Aram belong to the Lord
no less than all the tribes of Israel;
Hamath too, which borders on it,
(Tyre) and Sidon also, despite her acumen.
Tyre has built herself a rampart,
has heaped up silver like dust
and gold like the dirt of the streets.
And now the Lord is going to take possession of her;
he will topple her power into the sea;
she herself will be consumed by fire.
Seeing this, Ashkelon will be terrified,
and Gaza be seized with trembling,
so will Ekron, at the ruin of her prospects;
the king will vanish from Gaza
and Ashkelon remain unpeopled,
but the bastard will live in Ashdod!
I mean to destroy the arrogance of the Philistine;
I intend to take his blood out of his mouth
and his abomination from between his teeth.
He too will become a remnant for our God
and be like a family in Judah.
Ekron shall be like the Jebusite.
Near my house I will take my stand
like a watchman on guard against prowlers;
the tyrant shall pass their way no more,
because I have now taken notice of its distress.
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you;
he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish chariots from Ephraim
and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you, because of the blood of your covenant
I am sending back your prisoners from the pit
(in which there is no water).
To you, daughter of Zion,
the hopeful captives will return.
In compensation for your days of banishment
I will give you back double.
For I bend my bow; it is Judah;
I make Ephraim its arrow.
I am going to brandish your children, Zion,
(against your children, Javan);
I mean to make you like the sword of a hero.
The Lord will appear above them
and his arrow will flash out like lightning.
The Lord will sound the trumpet
and advance in the storms of the south.
The Lord (of Hosts) will protect them!
They will trample sling stones underfoot,
they will drink blood like wine,
they will be soaked in it like the horns of an altar.
The Lord their God will give them victory
when that day comes;
he will pasture his people like a flock
(like the flashing jewels of a diadem)
on his land.
What joy and what beauty shall be theirs!
Corn will make the young men flourish,
and sweet wine the maidens.
Ask the Lord for rain
at the time of the spring rains.
For it is the Lord who sends the lightning
and gives the showers of rain;
he gives bread to man,
and grass to the cattle.
Because the teraphim utter futile words
and the diviners have lying visions
and publish empty dreams
and voice misleading nonsense,
naturally the people stray like sheep;
they wander because they have no shepherd.


Rejoice, heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See how your king comes to you:
he is victorious,
he is triumphant, humble, and riding on a colt,
the foal of a donkey.

Jesus found a young donkey and mounted it,
as the scripture says:
See how your king comes to you:
he is victorious,
he is triumphant, humble, and riding on a colt,
the foal of a donkey.

Second Reading
A discourse
by St Andrew of Crete

Behold, your king is coming to you, the Holy One, the Savior

Let us say to Christ: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel. Let us hold before him like palm branches those final words inscribed above the cross. Let us show him honor, not with olive branches but with the splendor of merciful deeds to one another. Let us spread the thoughts and desires of our hearts under his feet like garments, so that entering us with the whole of his being, he may draw the whole of our being into himself and place the whole of his in us. Let us say to Zion in the words of the prophet: Have courage, daughter of Zion, do not be afraid. Behold, your king comes to you, humble and mounted on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.

He is coming who is everywhere present and pervades all things; he is coming to achieve in you his work of universal salvation. He is coming who came to call to repentance not the righteous but sinners, coming to recall those who have strayed into sin. Do not be afraid, then: God is in the midst of you, and you shall not be shaken.

Receive him with open, outstretched hands, for it was on his own hands that he sketched you. Receive him who laid your foundations on the palms of his hands. Receive him, for he took upon himself all that belongs to us except sin, to consume what is ours in what is his. Be glad, city of Zion, our mother, and fear not. Celebrate your feasts. Glorify him for his mercy, who has come to us in you. Rejoice exceedingly, daughter of Jerusalem, sing and leap for joy. Be enlightened, be enlightened, we cry to you, as holy Isaiah trumpeted, 
for the light has come to you and the glory of the Lord has risen over you.

What kind of light is this? It is that which enlightens every man coming into the world. It is the everlasting light, the timeless light revealed in time, the light manifested in the flesh although hidden by nature, the light that shone round the shepherds and guided the Magi. It is the light that was in the world from the beginning, through which the world was made, yet the world did not know it. It is that light which came to its own, and its own people did not receive it.

And what is this glory of the Lord? Clearly it is the cross on which Christ was glorified, he, the radiance of the Father’s glory, even as he said when he faced his passion: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him, and will glorify him at once. The glory of which he speaks here is his lifting up on the cross, for Christ’s glory is his cross and his exultation upon it, as he plainly says: When I have been lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.


Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
The Lord is God; his light shines out to welcome us.

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
The Lord is God; his light shines out to welcome us.

Let us pray.

Lord our God,
give us grace to serve you always with joy,
because our full and lasting happiness
is to make of our lives
a constant service to the Author of all that is good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.