17 November, Thursday – Can we recognise God’s love?

Nov 17 – Memorial for St. Elizabeth of Hungary, married woman, religious

Elizabeth (1207-1231) was a princess, the daughter of King Andrew of Hungary, and the great-aunt of St. Elizabeth of Portugal. At the age of 13, she married Prince Louis of Thuringia. She built a hospital at the foot of the mountain on which her castle stood, and tended to the sick herself. Her family and courtiers opposed this, but she insisted she could only follow Christ’s teachings, not theirs.

Once, when she was taking food to the poor and sick, Prince Louis stopped her and looked under her mantle to see what she was carrying; the food had been miraculously changed to roses. Upon Louis’ death, Elizabeth sold all that she had, and worked to support her four children. Her gifts of bread to the poor, and of a large gift of grain to a famine-stricken Germany, led to her patronage of bakers and related fields.


Apocalypse 5:1-10

I, John, saw that in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne there was a scroll that had writing on back and front and was sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a powerful angel who called with a loud voice, ‘Is there anyone worthy to open the scroll and break the seals of it?’ But there was no one, in heaven or on the earth or under the earth, who was able to open the scroll and read it. I wept bitterly because there was nobody fit to open the scroll and read it, but one of the elders said to me, ‘There is no need to cry: the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed, and he will open the scroll and the seven seals of it.’

Then I saw, standing between the throne with its four animals and the circle of the elders, a Lamb that seemed to have been sacrificed; it had seven horns, and it had seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits God has sent out all over the world. The Lamb came forward to take the scroll from the right hand of the One sitting on the throne, and when he took it, the four animals prostrated themselves before him and with them the twenty-four elders; each one of them was holding a harp and had a golden bowl full of incense made of the prayers of the saints. They sang a new hymn:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll
and break the seals of it,
because you were sacrificed, and with your blood
you bought men for God
of every race, language, people and nation
and made them a line of kings and priests,
to serve our God and to rule the world.’

Luke 19:41-44

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it and said, ‘If you in your turn had only understood on this day the message of peace! But, alas, it is hidden from your eyes! Yes, a time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all round you, when they will encircle you and hem you in on every side; they will dash you and the children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave not one stone standing on another within you – and all because you did not recognise your opportunity when God offered it!’


…you did not know the time of your visitation>

The temple of Jerusalem served as a symbol and reminder of God’s constant presence with his people in the city.

In today’s gospel, Jesus is there crying and lamenting for the city of Jerusalem. All because God had sent prophets and finally, His Son himself, to teach His people about having faith in God and following the right path to eternal life. Instead, the pride and arrogance of the Jews blinded them to the pure teachings of Jesus. They refused to acknowledge his presence and ‘visitation’ as their saviour.

I don’t like being told I’m wrong and should do things a different way. Let’s face it, none of us do; but sometimes, that method will turn out to be the better and more efficient way to accomplish something. It is when we realise that we were wrong all along and that, with that little nudge in the right direction, we’ve been set back onto the right path. We’ll also be thankful for the person who guided us back to where we were supposed to be headed.

Have you ever thought that that person might be God actually ‘visiting’ us? Probably not. We need to remember that God’s visits are meant to bring peace in our lives. Obviously, he isn’t going to be popping into our lives with tons of fanfare to announce His presence but will work through others, gently nudging us in the right direction. Sometimes not so gently, but it is all meant to make us better people.

In the same way a parent disciplines their child to make sure they grow up into a decent person, our heavenly Father also ‘disciplines’ us, but by using the hands of others.

Jesus’ prophecy in the gospel strongly echoes Jeremiah’s prediction of the destruction of the first temple of Jerusalem; but it also offered hope of faith restoration and deliverance from evil. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-22)

Hence, our own peace can only be achieved when we give ourselves over to faith in God and let Him guide us instead of having our pride take over.

(Today’s Oxygen by Rebecca Grace)


Prayer : Lord, we pray for the wisdom to recognise when You are trying to nudge us back onto the right path. May we never get upset at the person that You have chosen to teach us, through Your own subtle way, what it is You want us to do in this life.

Thanksgiving : We give thanks for everyone You have placed in our lives, past, present and future, that have helped mold us into who we are today.

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