Monday, November 16, 2009


“St Elizabeth of Hungary” (detail)
by Simone Martini,1317



Biographical Information about St. Elizabeth of Hungary[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Readings and Commentary:


1 John 3:14-18

We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that anyone who is a murderer
does not have eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Commentary on
1 Jn 3:14-18

St. John continues his narrative on righteousness and love in this passage. Note, he has not really focused on what he considers to be the central teaching of Christ – love one another. In this particular section he begins with the comparison from scripture of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-16). He brings that rationale as to why the world, in his eyes intrinsically evil, hates the Christian community, who are good because they love each other.

CCC: 1 Jn 3:15 1033; 1 Jn 3:17 2447
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9. 10-11

R. (2) I will bless the Lord at all times.
(9) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Commentary on
Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9. 10-11

Psalm 34 is a song of thanksgiving and a favorite for celebrating the heroic virtue of the saints. The psalmist, fresh from the experience of being rescued (Psalm 34:5, 7), can teach the "poor," those who are defenseless, to trust in God alone. This psalm, in the words of one being unjustly persecuted, echoes hope for deliverance and freedom. The promise of salvation for those who follow the Lord gives hope to the poor and downtrodden.

CCC: Ps 34:3 716; Ps 34:8 336

Luke 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
"To you who hear I say,
love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.
"Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you."

Commentary on
Lk 6:27-38

This passage from St. Luke’s Gospel continues the Sermon on the Plain. In this section, Jesus extends the commandment to love one’s neighbor to include one’s enemy, breaking new ground in the interpretation of Mosaic Law. What follows is an extension of each of the laws governing hospitality and continues by extending even the judicial laws that govern dispute resolution. In the conclusion of this section, the Lord exhorts the disciples to embrace forgiveness, saying, “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

CCC: Lk 6:28 1669; Lk 6:31 1789, 1970; Lk 6:36 1458, 2842

St. Elizabeth (1207-1231) was only 24 when she passed from this life to the next. In that short time, the overflowing grace of Christ allowed here to be light to thousands and since her death, inspire many more to acts of charity and service to the poor. What makes her story most remarkable is that, in a time when monarchs enjoyed opulence and decadent pleasures, this young lady gave up station, ease, and wealth to help the neediest of the region over which she held sway.

St. Elizabeth’s feast day comes at a time when most of us begin looking forward to the Nativity of the Lord and the festivities celebrated at that occasion. She reminds us that it is especially at these times the poor and marginalized feel the loneliness of poverty most acutely. As St. John points out emphatically, it is at these times we must bring the Great Commandment most deeply into our hearts. The Lord, in the Gospel promises great rewards for the faithful who, like St. Elizabeth, brings his love to those whom society judges do not deserve our aid.

Today we ask for the intercessory prayer of St. Elizabeth. We pray that God in his goodness will give us hearts fitting to serve his Son, filled with love for the poor and needy. We pray also on St. Elizabeth’s feast day, for mothers who have lost children, before and after they were born. May God in his infinite compassion bring them peace and reunite them on the last day.


[1] The picture is “St Elizabeth of Hungary” (detail) by Simone Martini,1317 
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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