Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Lamb Has Made Us A Kingdom Of Priests To Serve Our God.

Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Revelation 5:1-10
I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand
of the one who sat on the throne.
It had writing on both sides
and was sealed with seven seals.
Then I saw a mighty angel
who proclaimed in a loud voice,
“Who is worthy to open the scroll
and break its seals?”
But no one in heaven or on earth
or under the earth
was able to open the scroll or to examine it.
I shed many tears
because no one was found worthy
to open the scroll or to examine it.
One of the elders said to me,
“Do not weep.
The lion of the tribe of Judah,
the root of David, has triumphed,
enabling him to open the scroll
with its seven seals.”

Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne
and the four living creatures and the elders
a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.
He had seven horns and seven eyes;
these are the seven spirits of God
sent out into the whole world.
He came and received the scroll
from the right hand of the one
who sat on the throne.
When he took it,
the four living creatures
and the twenty-four elders
fell down before the Lamb.
Each of the elders held a harp
and gold bowls filled with incense,
which are the prayers of the holy ones.
They sang a new hymn:

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll
and break open its seals,
for you were slain and with your Blood
you purchased for God
those from every tribe and tongue,
people and nation.
You made them a kingdom
and priests for our God,
and they will reign on earth.”
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 149
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom
of priests to serve our God.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom
of priests to serve our God.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom
of priests to serve our God.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lamb has made us
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
+++    +++    +++    +++ 
Luke 19:41-44
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace –
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies
will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you
and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground
and your children within you,
and they will not leave
one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize
the time of your visitation.”
Dedication of St. Peter and Paul

St. Peter’s is probably the most famous church in Christendom. Massive in scale and a veritable museum of art and architecture, it began on a much humbler scale. Vatican Hill was a simple cemetery where believers gathered at St. Peter’s tomb to pray. In 319 Constantine built on the site a basilica that stood for more than a thousand years until, despite numerous restorations, it threatened to collapse. In 1506 Pope Julius II ordered it razed and reconstructed, but the new basilica was not completed and dedicated for more than two centuries.

St. Paul’s Outside the Walls stands near the Abaazia delle Tre Fontane, where St. Paul is believed to have been beheaded. The largest church in Rome until St. Peter’s was rebuilt, the basilica also rises over the traditional site of its namesake’s grave. The most recent edifice was constructed after a fire in 1823. The first basilica was also Constantine’s doing.

Constantine’s building projects enticed the first of a centuries-long parade of pilgrims to Rome. From the time the basilicas were first built until the empire crumbled under “barbarian” invasions, the two churches, although miles apart, were linked by a roofed colonnade of marble columns.


Peter, the rough fisherman whom Jesus named the rock on which the Church is built, and the educated Paul, reformed persecutor of Christians, Roman citizen and missionary to the Gentiles, are the original odd couple. The major similarity in their faith-journeys is the journey’s end: Both, according to tradition, died a martyr’s death in Rome—Peter on a cross and Paul beneath the sword. Their combined gifts shaped the early Church and believers have prayed at their tombs from the earliest days.


“It is extraordinarily interesting that Roman pilgrimage began at an…early time. Pilgrims did not wait for the Peace of the Church [Constantine’s edict of toleration] before they visited the tombs of the Apostles. They went to Rome a century before there were any public churches and when the Church was confined to the tituli [private homes] and the catacombs. The two great pilgrimage sites were exactly as today—the tombs, or memorials, of St. Peter upon the Vatican Hill and the tomb of St. Paul off the Ostian Way” (H.V. Morton, This Is Rome).

Saint of the Day

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