33rd Week, Wednesday, Nov 22; Saint Cecelia

 33rd Week, Wednesday, Nov 22

2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31 / Luke 19:11-28

Seven brothers are martyred; Their mother exhorted them to persevere.

 Shortly after he began his second term as president of the United States, Harry Truman sent a note to his daughter, Margaret. It impressed her deeply. It read: "Your dad will never be reckoned among the great. But you can be sure he did his level best and gave his all to his country. “There's an epitaph in Boothill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona, which reads, 'Here lies Jack Williams; he did his damnedest.' "What more can a person do?” 

Parents still exercise the greatest influence over their children we see in this Truman story and in today's reading.


Recall a time when your father or mother did something that moved you deeply. “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” Spanish Proverb


We hear the inspiring story of the mother and her seven sons who with great courage preferred to die for their faith rather than to sin against the Law.


Whenever we hear of the term "Judgement Day" just what are the feelings and thoughts that we get? It is certainly a day of reckoning, a time when we have to give an account of our lives, and only we ourselves know what kind of an account to give. Because out of our own mouths, we will pronounce judgment on ourselves. 

In the gospel parable, that was what the master told the servant who kept the pound and did nothing with it. Knowing what was expected and yet not bothering about it certainly calls for accountability and punishment. So what is expected of us? The 1st reading gives a terrible account of what it means to be faithful to God and to do what is expected of us. 

We may not have to face that kind of physical torture and torment when it comes to keeping faith in God. Yet in our trials and temptations, we will surely face the spiritual torture and torment of the evil one to sin and go against God. The evil one will also entice us with lies and deception to take the soft and easy way and slowly walk into the blindness of darkness.

Yes, we need to pray that the Lord will deliver us from evil and to grant us the grace to live a holy life so that we can sincerely give an account of our lives on Judgement Day. 


Faith, the Gospel and the life of Christ are rich gifts which we have received to work with, to produce with, to do business with, as the Gospel says. We cannot just take our faith for granted. We are stewards of the goods of the kingdom; a good steward does not only keep what the master gives him or her, but invests it to produce more. One who has will be given more. This is Luke’s presentation of the parable of the talents. How productive is our faith?


Life is the greatest “pound (talent)” we have received. Every faculty, every talent and every opportunity are “pounds” that we have received and continue to receive in addition. These “pounds” are not our property but something we need to be accountable for before the giver – God. The parable of the pound teaches us to make maximum use of the gifts and talents we have received to build up the kingdom of God. An attitude that says “I don’t do any harm” is not a sign of a good Christian but it is imperative that, “I do something good.” A Christian should have the courage to use his/ her God-given gifts. The more we make use of the given “pounds”, the more will be given to us; the more creatively we use our ideas, the more creative we become, because the gifts of God are never exhausted.



Good and loving Father, you have made us rich in many ways, our faith, the good news of the Gospel, your Son Jesus Christ, above all, with his life and his Spirit, and the people around us. Help us grow in this faith and this love, teach us to invest ourselves in your kingdom of goodness and hope, that we may be worthy of your trust, by the power of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen


Saint Cecelia

Feast Day November 22

For centuries St. Cecelia has remained one of the church’s most beloved saints. Parents give their daughters her lovely name, which means “lily of heaven.” However, all we know about Cecelia comes from a fifth-century legend that has no historical evidence to support it. Except that two young men featured in the story, Valerian and Tiburtius, were known to have been martyred in the third century and buried in the catacombs. However, no catacomb grave or contemporary writer validates the fascinating tale of St. Cecelia.

However, the story still charms and inspires us. Cecelia, a patrician maiden, dedicated her virginity to Christ, but her father betrothed her to Valerian, a young pagan. Forced into marriage, Cecelia determined to keep her commitment. According to the legend:

As the wedding day approached, she fasted for two or three days. On her nuptial day she wore a hair shirt next to her flesh, concealed by her gown of cloth of gold. She sang in her heart to God alone, saying, “O Lord, let my heart and my body be undefiled.” That night, when with her spouse she sought the secret silences of the bridal chamber, she spoke to him as follows: “O sweetest and most loving youth, there is a secret that I may confess to you, if only you will swear to guard it faithfully.” Then Valerian swore that no necessity would make him betray it in any way. Then she said: “I have for my lover an angel of God, who guards my body with exceeding zeal! If he sees you but lightly touch me for sordid love, he will smite you, and you will lose the fair flower of your youth. But if he knows that you love me with a pure love, he will love you as he loves me, and will show you his glory!”

Then Valerian, guided by the will of God, said: “If you will have me believe you, show me the angel! If I find that he is really an angel, I shall do as you ask me!”

We might wonder if bad breath from fasting and the stink of the hair shirt might not have been enough to protect Cecelia from Valerian’s touch. However, the youth followed Cecelia’s directions and sought baptism from Pope Urban I. Upon his return, Valerian saw Cecelia’s angel, who crowned both of them with floral wreaths. Then Valerian’s brother, Tiburtius, was also converted. The two new Christians were soon beheaded for burying the bodies of those who had been martyred.

Cecelia herself was condemned for refusing to worship the gods. An attempt to suffocate her in her own bathroom failed. So a soldier was ordered to behead her, but he bungled the job. Cecelia lay dying for three days, during which she bequeathed her property to the church.

The Cecelia legend may be purely fictitious, but this fiction conveys truths that stimulate our faith. St. Cecelia testifies to the supernatural realities that penetrate our lives and invite us to live for God alone no matter what it costs.