Day 285: Story of Hanukkah

1 Maccabees 4:1-35 Badly outnumbered and poorly armed, Judas reminded his army of the power of God and his deliverance of Israel from Egypt centuries before. With this trust in God, they routed their opponents in battle after battle.

Ch 4:36-61 According to this account, Judas regained enough control of Jerusalem to undertake a ritual cleansing of the Temple and to recommence proper worship of God. With great mourning and prayer, the priests removed the profane elements, brought back the sacred vessels, and restored the altars while Maccabean soldiers held off the Syrian forces. The Temple was then rededicated, an event commemorated on the Feast of Hanukkah.

Sirach 10:1-5 Christ taught that all legitimate authority is ultimately derived from the authority of God the Father (cf. Jn 19:11). With leadership comes great responsibility to govern according to moral law, which reflects the eternal wisdom of God. The rights and recognition of every person is intimately linked to natural law. (CCC 1884, 1898, 1913, 2199, 2213)

Ch 10:6-18 Pride, or arrogance, is one of the seven capital sins in Church tradition; the other capital sins include avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth (acedia). These sins are called “capital” because they can lead directly to other sins and vices as they dispose the individual to give in to temptation. (CCC 1866)

Ch 10:19 Each person merits respect for being created in the image and likeness of God. This innate dignity of every individual requires fidelity to moral law. Through sin, the exalted dignity of being made in the image and likeness of God is obscured. (CCC 1700)

Ch 10:19-31 Wealth, popularity, and ancestry are limited goods that pale next to wisdom. True wisdom is rooted in the humble knowledge that everything a person has comes from God. A well-formed conscience and sound, prudential choices reflected in virtuous behavior are some of the marvelous benefits of wisdom. (CCC 2690)

Ch 10:20 Other ancient authorities add verse 21: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of acceptance; obduracy and pride are the beginning of rejection.”

Ch 11:1-28 The virtues of prudence and humility prepare a person to understand that true riches and blessings lay not in the goods and pleasures in this life but in the happiness and reward of the next life, Christ reiterated this teaching by proclaiming that a person’s true treasures are connected to the love of God and are not related to amassing earthly goods foolishly (cf. Lk 12:16-21)

Ch 11:14 Throughout Scripture, but particularly in the Old Testament, the authors attribute both the good and the bad to the will of God. This is an acknowledgment that God is the Lord over all of creation and history. It follows that identification with God’s will results in becoming a beneficiary of God’s providential love. (CCC 304)

Ch 11:14 Other ancient authorities add verses 15-16: “Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the law come from the Lord; affection and the ways of good works come from him. Error and darkness were created with sinners; evil will grow old with those who take pride in malice.”

Ch 11:29-34 The brief advice here does not go against generosity or hospitality, which is amply exemplified in both the Old and New Testaments; it advises simply caution and discretion in the face of ill-intentioned strangers.

Ch 12:1-18 Almsgiving and acts of charity should always address the real needs of the poor. Mindless contributions of cast-off items or surplus money may not assist those in need effectively. The presence of evil in the world should elicit vigilance and prudence to identify aggressively those individuals who lead us readily to sin. (CCC 310)

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

Judas Maccabeus 

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Key Event 54: Purification of the Temple (1 Maccabees 4:36-61)

In response to Antiochus IV's persecution, a priestly Jewish family, later known as the Maccabees, rallies in Judah's defense.  Vastly outnumbered, they nevertheless push the Greeks back, win their independence, and rededicate the Temple in 164 BC.  The feast of Hanukkah commemorates their victory and the purification of the Temple.

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much. Gosh, Lord, thank you so much for this gift, the gift of your day, this gift of your Word, this gift of this story of Judas Maccabeus and the faithful Jews of Israel who are fighting for you. We know that while Judas Maccabeus and his brothers fought against Greeks, we know that our battle is not with flesh and blood. Our battle is with the Principalities and Powers. And just like you gave Judas Maccabeus and his brothers victory over their enemies, you give us victory over the Principalities and Powers. You give us victory over the dominion of Satan. You give us victory over evil in the world through your Son, Jesus Christ. And in His name we pray. Amen.”