Reading 1 Wis 13:1-9
and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is,
and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;
But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.
Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods,
let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.
But yet, for these the blame is less;
For they indeed have gone astray perhaps,
though they seek God and wish to find him.
For they search busily among his works,
but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable.
For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?
Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:2-3, 4-5ab
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Alleluia Lk 21:28
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 17:26-37
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.”
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, please go here.
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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
As I write this post, my mind and heart are looking forward to Advent, which starts in just 15 days. I always try to add devotion to this time of preparation for Christ’s birth and make sure that I have all my gifts purchased and wrapped by then, so as to focus on the spiritual, not the material aspects of Christmas. And the calendar is telling me I’m running out of time. Thankfully we have decided to simplify Christmas this year, which takes a lot of pressure off this momma in so many ways. I’m not sure my kids are quite on board though. They’ve been making their wish lists since June.
If you look closely, today’s First Reading talks precisely about this, focusing more on gifts than the giver of gifts. It says that because of the beauty of fire, wind, stars, and water, people began to consider them gods instead of their Creator. It could just as easily say that due to the allure of new cars, social media, and phones, we consider them gods. For “though they seek God and wish to find him…they search busily among his works but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.” (Wis 13:6-7)
All the things God created are indeed beautiful, but what a great reminder to let them lead us back to Him!
Now, if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them. Or if they were struck by their might and energy, let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them. (Wisdom 13 – emphasis added)
How beautiful and excellent and powerful is our Lord God! If you think a sunrise or a snow-capped mountain is beautiful, a brand new iPhone or Amazon Prime is excellent, and a 650 supercharged Corvette or a multimillionaire politician is powerful, just imagine how beautiful and excellent and powerful is the One who made them all!!
It is so easy and so tempting to stop and stay at what catches my eye or my mind’s eye at any given moment. I am scared to be quiet and still because maybe the unknown will be too profound for me to handle. I have a sense that God wants to pour Himself into me, not only give me gifts, but BE the gift, yet I run to the next distraction, whether it be Christian suspense novels or Facebook or email or superficial chats or gossip.
So as Advent approaches, I resolve to spend time focusing not so much on the gifts, but on the giver, author, originator, source, and artisan of them all – my beautiful, excellent, and powerful God.
Tami grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.