Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Dedication of Basilica)
1 Maccabees 1 : 10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-64
From the kings who followed Alexander (the Great), from their descendants there came a godless offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, who had been held as hostage in Rome. He became king in the one hundred and thirty-seventh year of the Greek era (175 B.C.).
It was then that some rebels emerged from Israel, who succeeded in winning over many people. They said, “Let us renew contact with the peoples around us for we had endured many misfortunes since we separated from them.”
This proposal was well-received and some eagerly went to the king. The king authorised them to adopt the customs of the pagan nations. With his permission, they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem in the pagan style. And as they wanted to be like the pagans in everything, they made artificial foreskins for themselves and abandoned the Holy Covenant, sinning as they pleased.
Antiochus issued a decree to his whole kingdom. All the peoples of his empire had to renounce their particular customs and become one people. All the pagan nations obeyed and respected the king’s decree, and even in Israel many accepted the imposed cult. They offered sacrifices to idols and no longer respected the Sabbath.
On the fifteenth day of the month of Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-five, Antiochus erected the “abominable idol of the invaders” on the altar of the Temple. Pagan altars were built throughout the whole land of Judea; incense was offered at the doors of their houses and in the squares. There wicked men tore up the books of the Law they found and burned them. They killed anyone they caught in possession of the book of the Covenant and who fulfilled the precepts of the Law, as the royal decree had ordered.
But in spite of all this, many Israelites still remained firm and determined not to eat unclean food. They preferred to die rather than to make themselves unclean with those foods prohibited by the Law, that violated the Holy Covenant. And Israel suffered a very great trial.
Alternate Reading (Mass for Dedication of the Basilicas)
Acts 28 : 11-16, 30-31
After three months, we boarded a ship that had spent the winter at the island. It belonged to an Alexandrian company and carried the figurehead of Castor and Pollux as insignia. We sailed for Syracuse, staying there for three days and, after circling the coast, we arrived at Rhegium.
On the following day, a south wind began to blow, and at the end of two days we arrived at Puteoli, where we found some of our brothers who invited us to stay with them for a week. And that was how we came to Rome.
There the brothers and sisters had been informed of our arrival and came out to meet us as far as the Appian Forum and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and took courage.
Upon our arrival in Rome, the captain turned the prisoners over to the military governor, but permitted Paul to lodge in a private house with the soldier who guarded him.
Paul stayed for two whole years in a house he himself rented, where he received without any hindrance all those who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught the truth about Jesus Christ, the Lord, quite openly and without any hindrance.