Day 302: The Pursuit of Wisdom

2 Maccabees 5:1-27 Their sins caused Israel to suffer defeat. Attacks were calculated to occur on the Sabbath, when any activity, including self defense, was prohibited; this passivity on the Sabbath contributed to the slaughter of the Jews. It is ironic that the Jews would observe the Sabbath rest so strictly on a day when they were transgressing the Commandments of the Law in so many other significant ways. (CCC 2172)

Sirach 50:1-29 Simon, a leader in the movement to restore proper worship among the Jews, was the high priest in Jerusalem around the turn of the second century BC. He undertook a massive project for repairing the Temple and fostered a strong sense of the sacred to its rituals and ceremonies. 

Ch 50:20-21 Described here is part of the Temple ritual for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement observed by Jews since ancient times. In the days of the Temple, Yom Kippur was the one day each year on which the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies, the innermost sanctuary of the Temple where the Ark of the Covenant with its mercy seat and other sacred items were reserved. The high priest would conduct a lengthy ritual of blood sacrifice of animals, bread, and wine to atone for his sins and the sins of all the people. When he was finished with the sacrificial ceremony, he would go out to the congregation and announce that God had reconciled his people to himself. (CCC 433)

Ch 51:1-30 The author closes with a hymn of thanksgiving and a poem extolling the search for wisdom.

Proverbs 24:19-20 The twenty-ninth maxim, which is apocalyptic in nature, points to the reality of evil in the world and how it has an impact on everyone. The Good News of the Gospel is that Christ has definitively conquered lust and sin through his redemption. (CCC 410, 677, 1505, 2583, 2864) 

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. Thank you so much. Thank you for your Word today. Thank you for your Grace today. Thank you for your self today. God, as you continue to walk with us through this story of the people of Israel, during this time of this oppression and this time of battle, this time of witness and this time of warring, we ask that you please help us to know when to fight. Help us to know when to flee. Help us to know not just when you’re calling us to be faithful. You are always calling us to be faithful. Help us to know how to be faithful. Are we faithful in fighting? Are we faithful in fleeing? Are we faithful in warring? Are we faithful in witnessing? No matter what you call us to, God, we ask that you please help us to be faithful. You are faithful. You are true. Help us to be like you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”