Day 296: know your heart
1 Maccabees 15:1-41 Antiochus VII, despite his initial goodwill, soon made demands upon Simon and Judea that would lead to another armed conflict.
Sirach 36:1-17 The Sacred Author, writing only a couple of centuries before the time of Christ, was well aware of the prophecies concerning a Messiah who would come to redeem the people of Israel. This prayer for Israel thanks God for all that he had done for his people and petitions that his favor continue.
Celebration: We speak of liturgy and worship in terms of celebration because we are joyful in our thanksgiving for all God has done for us. (CCC 441, 1135-1136)
Ch 36:18-26 These proverbs on finding a spouse reflect the patriarchal culture of that period: Men could select their own brides, but the reverse was not the case for women, whose mother and father would choose a husband for their daughter.
Ch 37:1-15 A person must be prudent and discerning in determining from whom to seek advice. Thomas a Kempis summarized this theme as well as much of the theme of this entire book when he wrote, “Take counsel with a wise and conscientious man. Seek the advice of your betters in preference to following your own inclinations. A good life makes a man wise according to God and gives him experience in many things, for the more humble he is and the more subject to God, the wiser and the more at peace he will be in all things” (The Imitation of Christ, I, 4).
Ch 37:16-31 The sign of a wise person is the ability to give cogent advice inspired by both moral law and the Gospel. Moreover, the wise person is usually content and at peace. The author returns to the subject of temperance and control of the bodily appetites not only for moral reasons but also for the maintenance of good health. Overindulgence is not only harmful to the spiritual and moral life but also can cause damage to the body. (CCC 1809)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
During the reign of the new king, Antiochus VII, relations between the Jewish people and Syria were at first cordial.
Antiochus affirmed Jewish independence and the manifold privileges his predecessors had granted to Simon and his people.
Later, however, the king went back on his word, and the tensions resumed.
At a banquet supposedly held in Simon’s honor in Dok, his own son-in-law Ptolemy assassinated him.
Ptolemy had intended to wipe out Simon’s family and restore Judea to the Seleucid king.
The plan failed, since Simon’s son and commander John, who was in Gazara at that time, survived Simon and later became high priest in 134 B.C.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
We only have 1 more chapter in 1 Maccabees then we will start 2 Maccabees
You guys are going to LOVE it
So we are coming up to the conclusion of 1 Maccabees STILL BATTLING
We have Antiochus VII
We have Numenius
We have Lucius
We have Trypho
We have King Ptolemy
And we have Simon
Remember we had Judas, Jonathan, and now Simon
We will be introduced to John, who is Simon’s son
Simon has been a pretty good leader
Judas was a GREAT FIGHTER
Jonathan was a GREAT FIGHTER
Simon was a GREAT FIGHTER WHO KNEW HOW TO LEAD
But there is all this DRAMA where people are fighting
Antiochus essentially says, “This is now my land. I want my land back. Give it to me at this price.”
Simon’s response is REALLY GOOD because he appeals to the fact that, “Actually, before this land was conquered by the Assyrians and Babylonians, it was OUR land. So we are not taking it from you. We are taking it from those other countries that took it from us.”
Isn’t that just the way of the world?
Who does this belong to?
This reality extends all the way to 2021
Wherever we are RIGHT NOW, THIS IS THE BATTLE
This land was given to the Jews by the Lord God
Those of us who believe in the Covenant and the promises of God to Abraham recognize that there is something DIVINE about this
There is something about the claim that the people of Israel have to Israel
THAT IS A REMARKABLE THING!!
This is the history a couple hundred years before Jesus
We are going to have one more chapter in 1 Maccabees
Then we are going to take another lap and see what happened not just the MACRO perspective
“Here are all the battles.”
“Here are all the conflicts.”
“Here is the rise and fall of other kings.”
We are going to look MORE ON THE GROUND
Now, it’s still going to be about the conflicts with all these kings, obviously
ON THE GROUND what were people doing?
HOW were they choosing FAITHFULNESS over FAITHLESSNESS?
HOW were they choosing GOD over BEING FALSE TO GOD?
So we will look at that on Day 298
We will conclude 1 Maccabees on Day 297
So onward to Sirach
Hopefully for all of us, this journey through Sirach has been a journey of ACCUMULATING WISDOM
GAINING A PERSPECTIVE FROM THE LORD
“What is my next step?”
In Sirach Ch 37, we are revisiting what a good friend is
Sirach 37:1-2, “Every friend will say, ‘I too am a friend’; but some friends are friends only in name. Is it not a grief to the death when a companion and friend turns to enmity?”
THAT IS SO TRUE!!
Sirach 37:7, “Every counselor praises counsel, but some give counsel in their own interest. Be wary of a counselor…”
THAT IS JUST WISE!!
Earlier on in Sirach we heard, “Whenever someone presents themselves to be your friend, test them first.” (Do you remember when we learned this? Go back and read Day 283: Mattathias Attacks in The Bible in a Year Study Guide for a refresher 😁)
That can seem kind of CYNICAL on our part
BUT IT IS NOT
IT IS WISE!!
So same thing with a COUNSELOR
Sirach 37:9, “[He is going to] tell you, ‘Your way is good,’ and then stand aloof to see what will happen to you.”
There is something even more...GOSH!!...something even more POWERFUL than the testing of a friend or the testing of a counselor
Sirach 37:11, “Do not consult with a woman about her rival, or with a coward about war, with a merchant about barter or with a buyer about selling, with a grudging man about gratitude or with a merciless man about kindness, with an idler about any work or with a man hired for a year about completing his work, with a lazy servant about a big task-pay no attention to these in any matter of counsel.”
Here is a person who has demonstrated themselves not to have a clear sense of WHAT IS RIGHT
EVEN HOW TO DO THE RIGHT THING
I’m not going to ask someone who can’t get over grudges, “Hey, how do you grow in gratitude?”
Because they might not actually have any wisdom when it comes to that
I might not be able to consult a merchant about bartering because they may not give me good advice
Sirach 37:12, “But stay constantly with a godly man whom you know to be a keeper of the commandments, whose soul is in accord with your soul, and who will sorrow with you if you fail.”
HERE IS THE KICKER OF THE WHOLE THING…
Sirach 37:13, “And establish the counsel of your own heart, for no one is more faithful to you than it is.”
YOUR OWN HEART
TO LEARN YOUR OWN HEART IS PRICELESS
IT IS INVALUABLE
THE WORTH OF KNOWING YOUR OWN HEART AND TO KNOW...
WHAT ARE THE MOVEMENTS OF MY HEART?
HOW DO I HEAR THE LORD’S VOICE?
WHAT ARE THE WOUNDS OF MY HEART?
WHAT ARE THE INCLINATIONS OF MY HEART?
WHERE ARE THE HOLES, THE GAPS, THE CRACKS IN MY HEART?
WHERE IS MY HEART FORTIFIED?
WHERE IS MY HEART WISE?
WHERE IS MY HEART FOOLISH?
So that we can be ON GUARD in some areas
And we can be LED in other areas
FOR NO ONE IS MORE FAITHFUL THAN YOUR OWN HEART
Sirach 37:14, “For a man’s soul sometimes keeps him better informed than seven watchmen sitting high on a watchtower.”
Sirach 37:15, “And besides all this pray to the Most High that he may direct your way in truth.”
THAT IS JUST SUCH A…
MAN!! (OH MAN!!)
WE ARE SO GRATEFUL
We only have 12 more chapters or so to go in Sirach
IT HAS BEEN SUCH A GIFT OF A JOURNEY
So has journeying through 1 Maccabees
Fr. Mike can’t wait to introduce us to 2 Maccabees
IF YOU LIKED 1 MACCABEES (HOPEFULLY YOU DID!!), 2 MACCABEES IS (I’m not going to use the word Fr. Mike said students on campus use…) ALL THAT AND A BAG OF POTATO CHIPS...THERE, I SAID IT!!
IT IS FULL OF GOODNESS
LIKE A JUICY ORANGE (OR KETTLE COOKED POTATO CHIPS WITH SEA SALT AND CRACKED PEPPER!!)
MAN!! (OH MAN!!)
WHAT AN IMAGE!!
Fr. Mike is grateful that you are sticking around and that you will be back tomorrow for Day 297
We have more days to come
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. Thank you so much, once again for your Word. Thank you for Jesus Christ, your Son of God, the Word made Flesh that dwells among us, and has dwelt among us, and has sent us your Spirit. Help us to live by the Spirit. Help us to listen to your Word. And help us to be formed by what we hear. Help us to live by what we hear. Help us to do your will in everything. Gosh! Thank you, Father. In your name, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.”