Day 284: Near Occasion of Sin

1 Maccabees 3:1-41 Judas Maccabeus and his army were victorious despite being outnumbered and poorly equipped due to their nobler cause (“for our lives and our laws”) and the support of God himself. In a just war, the death of enemy combatants is an unfortunate consequence of legitimate self-defense. (CCC 2263, 2265)

Ch 3:42-60 Judas and his forces prepared for battle with prayer, repentance, and guidance from the books of the Law and prophets. Judas organized his forces with the bravest soldiers and left their fate to the will of God. (CCC 1431, 1490, 1492)

Sirach 7:1-17 An important part of the growing in virtue is the determination to reject sin by voiding its near occasions. Moreover, in addition to rejecting evil, everyone must form many good moral virtues through the habitual repetition of good acts. The Commandments spell out the minimum standards needed to stay within the purview of God’s will. As St. John Paul II wrote, “The commandments of love of God and neighbor does not have in its dynamic any upper limit, but it does have a lower limit, beneath which the commandment is broken” (Veritatis Splendor, 52). Christ’s teachings perfected the Mosaic Law by going beyond the mere avoidance of sin; in fact, his counsels are intended to lead to heroic sanctity. Especially in the Beatitudes, he revealed the potential moral greatness of the human person. (CCC 2032, 2054, 2336, 2863)

Ch 7:18-36 This book was written in a time and culture when families lived in close contact as extended, multigenerational societies. Family ties were very important since the majority of the day was spent with family members. Today, this close proximity with extended family is seen less, especially in developed countries. However, the Church still teaches that the family is of inestimable value since it is entrusted with the education and formation of children. The family is thus referred to as the “domestic church,” a school of prayer and charity through which parents and grandparents pass along their heritage of faith to their children. (CCC 1658, 1666, 2204, 2685)

Ch 7:27-28 The responsibilities of parents to their children is so great that children are bound to offer their parents deep respect and obedience. (CCC 2215-2230)

Ch 8:1-19 These counsels provide examples of prudence in action, which presuppose sound deliberation and judgment. It is easy to see the connection between each proverb and a particular Commandment. (CCC 1788)

Ch 9:1-19 Although many of the proverbs regarding relationships between men and women provide sound advice, others reflect the patriarchal nature of Jewish society in the era in which this book was written. Christ and the Church he founded support the rights and special roles of women, both in the family and within society. (CCC 1938, 2387)

Proverbs 22:8-9 A common theme in Scripture is the reward for generosity, whether it be expressed in love of God, acts of piety, or deeds of charity toward our neighbor. As St. Paul wrote, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully...And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work” (2 Cor 9:6, 8). (CCC 1968, 2373) 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much. Thank you for this gift. Thank you for telling us our story, maybe our story in Maccabees that we don’t even know. And also thank you for giving us your wisdom, that we can meditate on your Law day and night. We can meditate on your wisdom at all times. And we can grow in wisdom with the wise. We thank you and praise you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”