Day 286: The Battle to Choose God

1 Maccabees 5:1-54 Judas and his army attacked various neighbors of Judea in whose territories the faithful Jews were being persecuted and threatened with death. He rescued beleaguered Jews in Gilead and Galilee and razed the uncooperative city of Ephron before returning to Jerusalem.

Ch 5:55-68 Back in Judea, Joseph and Azariah were left in charge of defending the region but were instructed not to attack. When, in disobedience, they sought victories of their own, attacking Jamnia, they were defeated. The importance of obedience to God’s will is the overarching lesson; moreover, docility to God always leads to a good outcome.

Sirach 13:1-26 Many people tend to respect and even adulate the rich and powerful within society on the basis of their celebrity status, while the poor and needy are often neglected. Those who admire the wealthy and elite excessively have a misguided set of priorities. What should elicit admiration are people who try to meet the needs of others humbly, especially the poor and the downtrodden. (CCC 1928, 1931, 1938)

Ch 13:13 Other ancient authorities add verses 13-14: “When you hear these things in your sleep, wake up! During all your life love the Lord and call on him for your salvation.”

Ch 14:1-27 The wise person blessed with riches sees himself or herself as a steward who must use his or her resources for the common good. Those who are blessed with ample material goods must, as a matter of justice, share them with the less fortunate.

Treat yourself well: This exhortation does not mean to selfishly indulge oneself in material possessions; rather, it means to strive for holiness and eternal life. Whatever possessions and riches you enjoy on earth will be left behind upon our death. This truth should serve as a stimulus to fill our lives with deeds of charity. (CCC 2402)

Ch 14:20-21 Every person has the capacity to know the existence of God and his attributes through the light of reason. Furthermore, knowledge of natural law is accessible to everyone, since it is engraved on the human heart and mind. Uncontrolled passion, however, can obscure this knowledge of moral law. (CCC 36-38)

Ch 15:1-20 A virtuous life coupled with joy comes with wisdom. On the other hand, behavior that contradicts wisdom and right reason brings in its wake suffering and anxiety. God certainly does not will unhappiness but permits it as a consequence of the misuse of freedom. (CCC 1713)

Ch 15:14-16 God showers all people with his infinite love, but he does not force anyone to love him in return. Likewise, he establishes a covenant relationship through his Law and Commandments but does not force anyone to obey his Commandments. The gift of freedom, or free will, allows us to choose to follow God or to reject him. Yet, if we opt to embrace his will, he gives us the grace and strength to obey his Commandments. (CCC 1730, 1732, 1743; CSDC 135)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. Thank you so much for this day. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for your wisdom. Help us to see life through your eyes, to see you through the way you have revealed yourself to us. And help us to see ourselves clearly, so that we can know who you are and know who we are and know what your will is every day of our lives. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”