33rd Week, Thursday, Nov 23; Saint Clement I

33rd Week, Thursday, Nov 23

1 Maccabees 2:15-29 / Luke 19:41-44

Mattathias and his sons flee; They leave everything for their faith.

At the age of 30, Albert Schweitzer left a music career in Europe to become a doctor. He wanted to help the poor of Africa. Schweitzer writes: “One day, in my despair, I threw myself into a chair in the consulting room and groaned ... 'What a blockhead I was to come out here to doctor savages like these!'

“Thereupon [an associate] quietly remarked, 'Yes, doctor, here on earth you are a blockhead, but not in heaven.' What the associate said of Dr. Schweitzer could also be said of Mattathias and his sons. “Yes, Mattathias, here on earth you are a blockhead, but not in heaven.”


How do we restore our courage and spirit when we are discouraged and depressed? “Falsehood is never so false as when it is nearly true.” Gilbert Keith Chesterton


The priest and leader Matthias turn down the honors and power promised him if he renounces his faith and offers sacrifice in honor of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria. He starts the open revolt of the Jewish people, a revolt that is both religious and political.


Whenever it comes to conflict and hostility, the Church would urge for peace through dialogue, and dialogue at the table of reconciliation. But unfortunately, the call for peace through dialogue and reconciliation has often gone unheeded, resulting in war and violence and bloodshed and loss of innocent lives. And when we reflect upon the numerous wars and devastation and loss of lives that had happened and that is still happening, we will come upon this eerie fact: It is not that humanity wants wars and devastation. It is just that we don't want peace. That might sound strange but the fact is that peace can only come about through forgiveness and reconciliation. 

That was the message of Jesus in the gospel - that peace for His people can only happen when they repent and ask for forgiveness and be reconciled with God and with each other. That is the message for us too. If our hearts are not at peace because of resentment and anger, or even hatred and revenge, then it is time to turn to God and ask for forgiveness and healing. 

Sin and evil can never bring us peace of heart. So let us open our eyes and recognize the signs pointing our hearts towards peace and ask for forgiveness and healing so the peace of God will reign in our hearts.


Luke wrote his Gospel when the Temple had already been destroyed. How come the Jewish people, God’s own, who had been so zealous to fight for loyalty to the God of the covenant, did not recognize Christ, the expected one? It is not up to us to condemn, as Christians have often done in the past. With Jesus, we weep over the city and its people and pray and work that Jews too, may find their Messiah. And in the meantime, let us too, know the paths of peace of God’s people, and recognize the time the Lord visits us.


The Gospel of today reveals the compassionate heart of Jesus. He weeps at the thought of the impending destruction of the city of Jerusalem; he weeps at the indifference of the city to receive the Son of God, to recognise his presence; He weeps for the city which did not make use of the opportunity received to walk in the path of salvation. This sentiment of Jesus reveals that he cannot remain indifferent before indifference, injustice, oppression, sickness and slavery. The indifference of the city of Jerusalem paves the way for its destruction. Similarly, our indifference to the message of Jesus and all that happens in and around us can lead us to sin and spiritual ruin. Finally, the passage tells that the way of peace is to accept Jesus in faith and follow him.



Lord our God, we seek the road to peace of Jesus Christ, your Son. Let us be your chosen people recognizing day after day the time of your visitation. Let this very day be the time when we are open to your coming in the words you speak to us, in the people we meet, in those who cry out for compassion and a bit of warmth. We ask you this in the name of Jesus, the Lord. Amen


Saint Clement I

Feast day November 23

In A.D. 88, Saint Clement I became the fourth pope. His reign lasted until A.D. 97. Though we have a few facts about Clement, we do know that he wrote a very important letter to the Church in Corinth.

The city of Corinth in Greece had a large Christian population, but it also had a number of problems. A group of people in Corinth refused to follow the legitimate Church authority there. They split off from the main group of believers. Clement, as the shepherd of the Church, wrote to the people, explaining the role of authority and the role of the people, encouraging peace and harmony. So powerful and clear was the letter that in some places in the early Church, it was ranked next to the accepted books of Scripture. It is one of the earliest Christian documents we have. Clement was martyred.