Day 292: The Power of Words

1 Maccabees 11:1-19 Through various intrigues, King Ptolemy of Egypt defeated Alexander, who was beheaded while in exile. Ptolemy, in turn, died within days, leaving Demetrius II to assume the throne of Syria.

Ch 11:20-54 Jonathan attacked the citadel, and Demetrius then sued for peace, confirming Jonathan as high priest and agreeing to suspend the tribute tax in Judea and Samaria. When Demetrius dismissed his army during this time of peace, they revolted against him. Jonathan agreed to come to the aid of Demetrius if he would remove his troops from the citadel in Jerusalem. The Jews helped defeat the uprising and a time of peace followed, but Demetrius did not keep his promise. 

Ch 11:54-74 Trypho, a Greek general who had backed Alexander and had the support of the disgruntled Syrian army, claimed the throne for young Antiochus VI, chasing Demetrius from Antioch. Jonathan and Simon backed Antiochus against Demetrius. When Jonathan’s men fled in the middle of battle, Jonathan’s prayers and repentance brought them back to secure victory. 

Sirach 28:1-11 Forgiveness of sin is central to our redemption in Christ. Since God is so lavish in his mercy, we must also forgive those who have wronged us. Christ taught that we will receive mercy in proportion to the mercy we show others. In the Lord’s Prayer we express a commitment to show mercy when we say, “Forgive us our debts, as also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt 6:12). Lack of forgiveness, bearing grudges, and an arrogant bearing are tendencies that are incompatible with a Christian spirit and must be replaced with charity and kindness. (CCC 2447, 2646, 2844)

Ch 28:12-26 Slander, a false statement against someone’s reputation, is an offense against the Eighth Commandment and is contrary to both justice and charity. Slander is one of the several sins that Christ identified as coming “out from the heart” (cf. Mt 15:18-20). (CCC 2475-2479; 2482-2487)

Ch 29:1-28 The Law of Israel forbade the charging of interest on loans and called for a forgiveness of debt every jubilee (fiftieth) year. The author offers codes of behavior for both borrowers and lenders, calling upon borrowers to be conscientious about their debts and upon lenders to deal compassionately with those who struggle to repay them. The Church has long condemned usury, which is the act of charging unjust and excessive interest. (CCC 2438, 2448-2449)

Proverbs 23:10-11 God is shown to have a special predilection for the orphan, and Scripture often speaks in their defense. Injustice and oppression of orphans ranks among the sins that cry to heaven. (CCC 1867)

(*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 for this gift. Thank you for unfolding the story. This is part of our story, the story of the Maccabees, the story of the people of Israel, and the story of the history of the world. Lord God, your hand is hidden in the affairs of our lives and we ask you to please give us the eyes of faith, so that we can see your working. Give us a heart of faith, that we can trust in your presence. And give us a lively and active faith that we can put your commandments into practice, put your wisdom into action, and help us to follow you this day and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”