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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Nov. 7, 2010

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

Nov. 7, Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C Readings:

1) 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14

Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15

2) 2 Thessalonians 2:16 to 3:5

Gospel: Luke 20:27-38

Sarah was the valedictorian of her high school class, and in that role, she was to give a speech at graduation. She decided that her speech would center on a challenge to her classmates as they moved into the next phase of their lives to stand up for their convictions. One passage of her speech dealt with her personal conviction to live her life based on her relationship with Jesus Christ.

In preparation for the graduation ceremony, Sarah had to submit her speech to school officials for approval. The principal raised a strenuous objection to her using the name of Jesus in her speech at this public school graduation.

There was much back and forth with the school, the principal, this young woman, her parents and the school board. The day of graduation came, and I was in the stands, waiting to see what would happen.

Sarah gave her speech as she originally wrote it, using the name of Jesus, and as she finished, the packed coliseum gave her a standing ovation -- everyone, that is, except the principal of the school.

The irony of this story is that the principal actually did exactly what the speech challenged people to do, namely, stand up for their convictions. He thought it was wrong to use the name of Jesus in the public arena, and when everyone else stood to applaud, he remained true to his ideals and stayed seated.

Today's first reading tells part of the story of the Maccabees who lived at a time of great persecution of the Jewish church under the Seleucid Empire. The Maccabees, too, stood for their convictions, and many of them died as a result.

In today's pluralistic and relativistic society, we can easily fall into the trap described in the adage that if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. The story from Maccabees and from Sarah's valedictory address calls us to another standard: Stand for something, even if it costs you everything. Most of us will not face death as a result of our convictions, but that should not stop us from living them every day.


Have you or someone you know ever had to stand up for their faith amid adverse conditions or persecution? What are some practices or standards in contemporary society that we as Jesus' followers should stand against?


"It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him;" (2 Maccabees 7:14).


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