Word of the day

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Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading of the day

A reading from the Book of Maccabees
1 Mc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63

[From the descendants of Alexander's officers]
there sprang a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes,
son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome.
He became king in the year one hundred and thirty seven
of the kingdom of the Greeks.

In those days there appeared in Israel
men who were breakers of the law,
and they seduced many people, saying:
"Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us;
since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us."
The proposal was agreeable;
some from among the people promptly went to the king,
and he authorized them to introduce the way of living
of the Gentiles.
Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem
according to the Gentile custom.
They covered over the mark of their circumcision
and abandoned the holy covenant;
they allied themselves with the Gentiles
and sold themselves to wrongdoing.

Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people,
each abandoning his particular customs.
All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king,
and many children of Israel were in favor of his religion;
they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.

On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev,
in the year one hundred and forty-five,
the king erected the horrible abomination
upon the altar of burnt offerings
and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars.
They also burned incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets.
Any scrolls of the law which they found they tore up and burnt.
Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant,
and whoever observed the law,
was condemned to death by royal decree.
But many in Israel were determined
and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean;
they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food
or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die.
Terrible affliction was upon Israel.

Gospel of the day

From the Gospel according to Luke
Lk 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
"Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
He shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!"
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
"Son of David, have pity on me!"
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
"What do you want me to do for you?"
He replied, "Lord, please let me see."
Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you."
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

Words of the Holy Father

Bartimaeus’ faith is evident from his prayer. It is not a timid and standard prayer. First and foremost, he calls the Lord “Son of David”: that is, he acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah, the King who would come into the world. Then he calls Him by name, confidently; “Jesus”. He is not afraid of Him, he does not stay at a distance. (…) He says what is essential and entrusts himself to God’s love which can make his life flourish again by doing what is humanly impossible. This is why he does not ask the Lord for alms, but makes everything be seen — his blindness and his suffering which was far more than not being able to see. His blindness was the tip of the iceberg ; but there must have been wounds, humiliations, broken dreams, mistakes, remorse in his heart. He prayed with his heart. And what about us? When we ask for God’s grace, do we also include in our prayer our own history, our wounds, our humiliations, our broken dreams, our mistakes and our regrets?

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Let us, too, recite this prayer today. Let us repeat it and ask ourselves: “What is my prayer like”? Let each of us ask ourselves: “What is my prayer like”? Is it courageous, does it contain the good insistence of Bartimaeus, does it know how to “take hold” of the Lord as he passes, or is it rather content with making a formal greeting every now and then, when I remember? Those lukewarm prayers that do not help at all. Furthermore, is my prayer “substantial”, does it bare my heart before the Lord? Do I take my story and life experience to him? Or is it anaemic, superficial, made up of rituals, without feeling and without heart? When faith is alive, prayer is heartfelt: it does not beg for spare change, it is not reduced to the needs of the moment. We must ask everything of Jesus, who can do everything. Do not forget this. We must ask everything of Jesus, with my insistence before Him. He cannot wait to pour out his grace and joy into our hearts; but unfortunately, it is we who keep our distance, through timidness, laziness or unbelief. (Angelus, 24 October 2021)