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We Each Have Something Sacred

First Reading: 1 Macabees 4:36-37, 52-59

Judas and his brothers said,
“Now that our enemies have been crushed,
let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it.”
So the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion.Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month,
that is, the month of Chislev,
in the year one hundred and forty-eight,
they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law
on the new altar of burnt offerings that they had made.
On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it,
on that very day it was reconsecrated
with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals.
All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven,
who had given them success.For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar
and joyfully offered burnt offerings and sacrifices
of deliverance and praise.
They ornamented the facade of the temple with gold crowns and shields;
they repaired the gates and the priests’ chambers
and furnished them with doors.
There was great joy among the people
now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed.
Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel
decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar
should be observed with joy and gladness
on the anniversary every year for eight days,
from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.

Responsorial Psalm: 1 Chronicles 29:10BCD, 11ABC, 11D-12A, 12BCD

R. (13b) We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
“Blessed may you be, O LORD,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity.”
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
“Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory.
For all in heaven and on earth is yours.”
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
“Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor are from you.”
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
“You have dominion over all,
In your hand are power and might;
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all.”
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

Gospel: Luke 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves
.”
And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.

NAB

nov 20

Many people would say that we live in an age where nothing is sacred. Blame the media, the Internet, whatever, but sometimes it feels like all things are expendable, that all things can be held up to ridicule and made the butt of jokes. We’re too jaded to consider anything to be holy.

I disagree. I think that each one of us, religious or not, has something—maybe more than one thing—that is sacred in our eyes.

In this Gospel reading, Jesus shows a side of Himself we don’t often see. He drives the merchants out of the temple, which surely involved a bit of a physical display, perhaps surprising to those who had seen Him in a less fiery light. But to Jesus, the temple was sacred. If you didn’t know it before, you knew it when you saw Him in action.

I recently saw an interview with the Catholic comedian Stephen Colbert. In it, he mentioned that although he likes to joke about his faith, one thing he would never joke about was the Eucharist. It was evident that this was a man who knew what was most sacred to him, and who let that awareness guide his work. I admire his clarity.

What are the things that are sacred to me? What parts of my faith, my relationships, myself, do I hold most dear? Would others know that from how I speak about these things?

I’m a big believer in the power of laughter, and I believe that God has a bigger sense of humor than we think. That said, there are some kinds of jokes that diminish their subjects, some kinds of humor that are more about scoring points than anything else. I love to entertain others, but I don’t want to make cheap jokes about the things that are most dear to me.

The last line of today’s Gospel says that the people were hanging on Jesus’ words. People rarely hang on my words that way, but words do have power. May I always remember that when speaking about the things that are most sacred to me. May my words—and my judicious silence—be golden.

What is most sacred to you?

photo by Corynne Olivia

Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a mother, high school English teacher, and BBC period drama junkie. She is the author of Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood and Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. Ginny lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two boys, and about thirty thousand Legos.  You can find out more about her here

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