Day 297: Using Good Things for Evil

1 Maccabees 16:1-24 John Hyrcanus took over Judea after the assassination of his father, Simon, and was the target of a coup attempt himself. Peace and independence prevailed in Israel but for only one century.

Sirach 38:1-15 The author stresses the importance of those who help the sick but emphasizes that their skill comes through the providence of God, who in his creation left remedies to be discovered and prescribed. He also urges prayer in times of sickness but not to the exclusion of seeking a cure; the two work together to effect healing if it is the will of God. (CCC 1498)

Ch 38:16-23 The author makes no reference here to an afterlife, but his tone is clear that life is precious and death is permanent. Jews of that time had differing opinions regarding the afterlife. From a Christian perspective, we do well to pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased; prayers and Masses for the dead serve the purpose of hastening their purification so as to enjoy eternal life as soon as possible. The Christian concern for the faithful departed rests on the belief in an afterlife in Heaven. (CCC 1684-1690)

Ch 38:24-34 The Sacred Author had high regard for the scribes who were educated in the Law and Scriptures and held administrative positions in Jewish society. Because of their knowledge, people sought out their counsel and wisdom. These verses stress the importance of the Sabbath rest, which fosters the deepening of wisdom and the spiritual life. (CCC 2172)

Ch 39:1-3 Perhaps ironically, the importance on keeping the Law would soon lead to error when the scribes and Pharisees would insist on a very scrupulous attention to the letter of the Law but lose its spirit. Christ had many disputes with members of these groups during his ministry and was highly critical of their hypocritical attitude. Nevertheless, he agreed with them on the necessity of keeping the Commandments. (CCC 575)

Ch 39:5-7 In addition to the study of Scripture and learning from wise teachers, astute individuals will devote themselves to prayers of praise and petition and meditation on the Word of God. (CCC 2562, 2564, 2631-2632, 2705-2706)

Ch 39:12-35 The author attributes the presence of evil in the world to the sin of Adam and Eve. Sin and evil is not an aspect of human nature or of the created world; rather, it is a consequence of the damage and disruption that Original Sin inflicted on creation. The moral weaknesses experienced and expressed by every human person-with the exception of Mary-testify to our fallen nature caused by the sin of our first parents. (CCC 404-408, 418)

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

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, thank you so much. Thank you for this day. Thank you for not giving up on us and thank you for giving us perseverance. Lord God, that’s this word, this word today, of just perseverance. And the word of choosing to reflect on your Word, choosing to reflect on your Wisdom, and choosing to reflect on how your Wisdom is meant to guide and shape our lives. We ask that you please guide and shape our lives today. Guide our steps aright, that we may do your will and may see your face. Lord God, help us to be sober in thought, in mind. Help us to choose well and live wisely so that in all things, you may be glorified. And in all things your people may be sanctified. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”