Day 305: The Defender

2 Maccabees 8:1-36 As in the First Book of Maccabees, Judas is portrayed here as a holy, prayerful, courageous leader who placed his trust in God and exhibited concern for his people. His fidelity to the Lord was linked directly to his success. Even when collecting the spoils of war, he was careful to distribute the goods to the poor. The author viewed the deaths of those who had done violence to the Temple and sought the extermination of Judaism as just retribution. The brutal acts of war described here strongly contradict Christ’s teachings on charity and mercy. The Church’s teaching on just war views indiscriminate killing of noncombatants as gravely evil; even if a war is just, every aspect of waging that war must respect the principles of justice and the dignity of human life. (CCC 2307-2317)

Ch 8:10 Enslavement of human persons is a grave offense against human dignity. (CCC 2455)

Ch 8:18 True trust in God is constant even in adversity and incomprehensible tragedy. (CCC 227)

Wisdom 5:23 Those who have sinned knowingly and refuse repentance are liable to judgment. Christian theology teaches that, at the moment of death, a person will be judged according to his or her deeds. Moreover, this judgment, called the Particular Judgment, will determine whether a soul enters Heaven-either directly or after purification in Purgatory-or suffers punishment in Hell. At the end of time, everyone will undergo a Final Judgment, at which time the body and soul will be reunited for either eternal reward or punishment. The Jews of this period believed that souls went to Sheol after death, and it was to the abode of the dead that Christ descended after his Death in order to proclaim redemption to the righteous souls who awaited the Messiah. (CCC 633, 1038-1041)

Ch 6:1-11 Those in authority will be judged more stringently because of their responsibility for the common good and the impact their acts had on so many people. (CCC 2284-2286)

Ch 6:12-21 Wisdom-in Greek, Sophia-is personified in feminine terms. Divine wisdom is infinite, thus transcending gender, and God invites every person to share in his wisdom. While God’s wisdom is written on the human heart, an openness to and desire for that wisdom is an indispensable condition to acquire it. Those in authority have a special obligation to seek wisdom. (CCC 310)

Ch 6:22-25 This section initiates the second part of this book. Without using his name, the writer assumed the role of Solomon, the King of Israel upon whom God bestowed great wisdom.

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

“Do not resist one who is evil. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.” (Mt 5:39-42). 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Mt 5:43-47). 

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much for your Word today. We just lift up your name. And we ask you to please receive our word of praise, receive our word of prayer, receive our word of thanks, because you are God. And you are, just like you came to be known in the battles against the Gentiles in 2 Maccabees, you are our defender. Defend us today, Lord God, we ask you in Jesus’ name. Amen.”