November 20, 2023
by Tom Quinn
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 497

1 Maccabees 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63
Psalms 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158
Luke 18:35-43

Praying Ordinary Time Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

As I meditated on the readings it was not difficult to picture, as St. Ignatius indicates in the Spiritual Exercises, the people, surroundings, and circumstances of the readings. We, sadly, are too familiar with times of political, cultural, and religious disagreements that spark strife, violence, and even war. Entire populations today are directly experiencing displacement and death in the Holy Land and other countries. The readings from the first book of Maccabees bring us to a time when Antiochus IV, called Epiphanes or god manifest, was actively trying to supplant Jewish culture with his Greek-influenced culture and religion replete with idols. Antiochus considered himself the personification of Zeus; he erected an idol of Zeus in the Jewish Temple. Not only was the Temple desecrated in this way, but many of the Sacred Scrolls were burned. Judas Maccabeus led the inevitable Jewish revolt.

How can we separate the terminal phrase of today’s readings, “terrible affliction was upon Israel,” from current events? We can learn from the ancient events and pray to God as the Psalmist does: “redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may keep your precepts.” “Give us life, Lord, and I will do your commands.” The events of past and present continuously conflate evoking in my mind unsettling, even terrifying, contemporary images that can dominate my prayer. Today I pray, God help us all; give us life, God. Help us to follow your will in peace and in the love of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. God, you created all of us; save your people from the anger and hatred of each other. Enlighten all of us. Let us remember the “new commandment” of Jesus, “love one another.”

The Gospel sets an example that has helped me to pray today. A blind man seeking a cure from Jesus was rebuked by the crowd surrounding Jesus. The man persisted. Jesus asked him, "what do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “please, let me see.” Jesus told the man, "Have sight, your faith has saved you.” We should not give up on our prayer if we do not experience immediate results. Be sincere; be patient; ask God directly what we want Him to do for us. Have faith that God hears our prayer; we are never alone.

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