We got the chance to go through the stories that we KNOW NOW
Maybe you’ve known them for a long time
Maybe you know all these stories of Elijah and Elisha...and we go all the way back to Adam in the last verse of Sirach today
MAN!! (OH MAN!!)
Those stories like Josiah
We remember that guy
Yeah, Josiah was one of those righteous kings, he and David
To know the story IS SUCH A GIFT!!
It is one of those gifts we get these last couple of days as we leave the Old Testament and journey into the New Testament
That is one of the things that we keep reminding ourselves of the FACT that...
The Old Testament is REVEALED in the New
The New Testament is HIDDEN in the Old
A few short days...maybe 11 days from now
We will be firmly planted in the New Testament starting with the Gospel of Luke
Then Acts of the Apostles
It’s coming fast!!
We also got to hear a retelling of the story of the Greek customs being introduced in 2 Maccabees Ch 4
We get a little more “on-the-ground” vision
Before, it was like “Oh the Greeks came into Jerusalem and they had decided to put up a gymnasium. And then some of the Jews were unfaithful to their mark of circumcision and actually undid the mark of circumcision.”
We have some of the people “on-the-ground” who did this
We have this backstabbing again and again and again
Jason is one of these people
Jason, the brother of Onias, he obtained the high priesthood by CORRUPTION
Everyone seems like they are obtaining the high priesthood at this place at this time by CORRUPTION
“Hey, I promise to pay even more than the guy before me.”
Here is Jason, in addition to getting the High Priesthood for himself, who promised to pay more money if he could establish a gymnasium
To enroll the body of youth in it
To enroll the men of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch
This is such an interesting thing
Jason is setting up a gymnasium
He’s not necessarily going to the old men or the old people
He goes to the youth and decides basically, “If we can increase the Hellenization (the Greek-ifying) of the young people, then soon...soon….they will abandon the practice of the Covenant. They will abandon the practice of the faithfulness to the God of Israel. To THE God.”
So Jason keeps introducing these things
He also started quadrennial games in Ch 4:18
They are introducing Greek customs and culture
The people doing this are also very connected to the Temple
They are installing themselves in a deceptive way as high priests
We recognize this corruption INTERNALLY
It’s not just people from the outside
It’s not just here’s the king who is introducing this kind of thing
This is PEOPLE ON THE GROUND who hold both position of HIGH PRIEST and the PERSON WHO IS INTRODUCING GREEK CUSTOMS
We recognize the corruption, not only of the youth, but of the religious figures at this time
You can see why they’re coming, Judas Maccabeus and his brothers
Because it’s not simply where they have to fight against the Greeks
“Oh, this is what it would look like to have our brothers and sisters, our fellow Jews, who are now adopting the practices of the Greeks and trying to depict them as completely not inconsistent with the faith of our fathers. It’s not inconsistent with the Jewish faith.”
WHILE IT ABSOLUTELY IS!!
On to Proverbs 24:16, “For the righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…”
This is an important WORD FOR US!!
When we recognize our weakness, it can be discouraging
“Gosh, Lord, how often am I unfaithful to you?”
It can be INCREDIBLY DISCOURAGING
Here is Proverbs reminding us that...EVEN THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON FALLS SEVEN TIMES A DAY
The righteous person even falls SEVEN TIMES A DAY
What also happens?
The righteous man falls seven times AND RISES AGAIN!!
THAT IS THE KEY!!
Throughout the course of these 301 DAYS, we have heard the story of MANY FALLS
SO MUCH CORRUPTION
SO MUCH SIN
God keeps POURING OUT HIS MERCY
God keeps POURING OUT HIS GOODNESS
God keeps POURING OUT HIS GRACE
And what happens?
GOD RAISES UP HIS PEOPLE AGAIN!!
So yes, even if you find YOURSELF falling seven times a day…
BE LIKE THAT RIGHTEOUS PERSON
THE RIGHTEOUS MAN FALLS SEVEN TIMES AND RISES AGAIN
SO DON’T GIVE UP!!
THAT IS THE ONLY THING THAT CAN BEAT US!!
GOD’S GRACE IS FOR YOU!!
GOD LOVES YOU!!
GOD IS POURING OUT HIS GRACE UPON YOU!!
The ONLY THING that could EVER actually stop us if we just DID NOT LET HIM PICK US UP AGAIN
If we got so DISCOURAGED by our falling seven times seven times a day
Or seven times a day…
That we just STOPPED LETTING HIM PICK US UP
RISE UP AGAIN
LET THE LORD’S GRACE AND LOVE MEET YOU RIGHT NOW
AND DEFEAT DISCOURAGEMENT BY THE COURAGE THAT COMES FROM HIM
Does that make sense?
That last part was very preachy…
IT IS TRUE!!
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER