2 Maccabees 10:1-8 The reclamation and purification of the Temple were major events that gave rise to the Feast of the Dedication. The reestablishment of the proper worship of God was proof of his protection over his people and his fidelity to his covenants. The Second Temple, however, was a mere shadow of the glorious Temple of Solomon, and this Temple, too, was destroyed centuries later by the Roman army in AD 70 and was replaced by a definitive Temple; instead of a building and sacred artifacts representing the presence of God, the New Temple is Christ himself. Since Christ took on our human nature and joined it to his own divine nature without confusing or mixing the two, we have direct and full access to God.
Ch 10:9-38 The death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes did little to benefit the Jews, and the official policies and treatment of the Jews remained terrible. The author reordered the events to emphasize the role of the Maccabean military victories in securing freedom for Israel and the purification of the Temple.
Wisdom 9:1-11 Reflecting on this passage, which is prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours, St. John Paul II said that it is “easy to intuit that this ‘wisdom’ is not mere intelligence or practical ability, but rather a participation in the very mind of God who ‘with his wisdom [has] established man.’...Thus it is the ability to penetrate the deep meaning of being, of life, and of history, going beyond the surface of things and events to discover their ultimate meaning, willed by the Lord. “He also called wisdom” a lamp that enlightens the moral choices of daily life and leads us on the straight path,” which allows us to “go forward confidently in the world” (General Audience, January 29, 2003).
Ch 9:2-3 In granting human beings dominion over the earth, God asks us to help bring about its completion and perfection through the rich array and diversity of human work. (CSDC 326)
Ch 9:9 God in his infinite wisdom and bountiful goodness created the universe. God created the world freely and out of love for men and women in order to share his goodness to make them participants in his creative power and everlasting life. (CCC 295)
Ch 9:13-16 Wisdom cannot be acquired by human effort alone; it requires a humble docility to perceive and act on God’s will. With the proper disposition of humility and obedience, God transmits his wisdom to those who pursue it. The truths of faith-coupled with a habitual effort to penetrate revealed truth-enhance the gift of wisdom. (CCC 299, 339, 369, 1954)
Ch 9:15 Greek philosophers who followed Platonic thought believed that the soul preexisted the body and that, during one’s life, the body was a mere physical shell for the soul. Rather than supporting this idea, these verses teach that the passions and appetites, if not controlled, can militate against the life of the spirit (cf. Rom 7:14-25). Paul taught that lustful and intemperate behavior is incompatible with a spiritual life. (CCC 365, 382, 990)
Ch 9:17-18 God the Son, the divine Word, took on a human nature with no detriment to his divinity in order to redeem the human race. The illustrious Church Father St. Athanasius stated: “In former times, the Wisdom of God stamped his seal on all created things-and the presence of his sign is the reason why we call them ‘created’-to reveal himself and make his Father known. But later, this same Wisdom, who is the Word, was made flesh, as John says, and having overcome death and saved the human race, he revealed himself in a clearer way and through himself, revealed the Father” (Contra Ariano, 2, 81-82). (CCC 457-460)
Ch 10:1-21 The author provided a concise summary of how wisdom had operated throughout Jewish history.
Ch 10:1-4 According to one ancient tradition, Adam and Eve repented of their sins after the Fall and went on to lead virtuous lives. Because of his parents’ Fall from grace, Cain was born with Original Sin, which led him to murder and flee from home. The sinful conduct of Cain was a poignant sign that sin had entered the world. The reference to the Flood is clearly about Noah, who was saved by his fidelity to God’s will, which is intimately linked to wisdom.
Ch 10:5 The first part of the fifth verse is a reference to the Tower of Babel, in which God halted the plans to build a tower so tall that it could touch heaven-essentially, a monument to the power and godlike qualities of the human person with no reference to God. To prevent this self-aggrandizement, God confused their tongues, as it were, causing them to speak in languages unknown to each other (Gn 11:1-9). Thereafter, the Tower of Babel became a metaphor for the vainglory of humanity and the idolatry of paganism, which usurped rightful worship and homage to the one true God.
The righteous man...for his child: This refers to Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his only son in obedience to God. (CCC 57)
Ch 10:6-9 The “righteous man” is Lot, who with his family was spared from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife was turned into a “pillar of salt” as punishment for failing to heed the angel’s instruction not to look back at the city being destroyed (cf. Gn19).
Ch 10:10-14 In the era of the patriarchs, divine wisdom was credited for having helped and protected Jacob, who “fled his brother’s wrath” after he tricked Esau out of his birthright. The same applied to Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers but later became a high official of the Pharaoh. The wisdom of God also saved the people of Israel from their enslavement in Egypt.
Proverbs 25:6-7 This proverb was strongly emphasized in Christ’s teaching on humility. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
So here we are back in 2 Maccabees Ch 10
WHAT A GIFT!!
We hear once again the story of Judas Maccabeus coming into the Temple in Jerusalem
One of the biggest offenses to the Jewish people and to their Covenant Relationship with God himself was the desolation and abomination placed in the Temple
This horrible action of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the Temple itself
This place of worship belonging to the Lord God ALONE and to no other
The Holy of Holies being desecrated
We already heard about Jeremiah who had already taken the tabernacle with the Ark of the Covenant away and hiding it in a cave
We also have the restoring of the Holy of Holies
We have the restoring of the Bread of the Presence
We have the restoring of the Temple
Not only that, but we have the origins of Hanukkah
After this, we have more battles of course
In these battles it is SO IMPORTANT for all of us
The campaign in Idumea
Judas defeating Timothy
All of these…
It is important for us to understand and be reminded of the fact that Judas Maccabeus is going into battle
He reminds them when they go against Timothy, “Reminding them that the one army have as pledge of success and victory not only their valor, but their reliance on the Lord while the other had rage as their leader in the fight.”
They had valor and courage, yes
They also had their reliance, confidence, and faith in the Lord
While the others made rage their leader in the fight
We are called to be COURAGEOUS
We are called to have FAITH
Where does our courage even come from?
Our COURAGE actually comes from the FAITH that we have
The COURAGE that we have
That we are CALLED TO
TO LIVE IN
TO WALK IN
COMES FROM THE FACT THAT WE KNOW THAT OUR LORD GOD IS REAL AND THE LORD GOD IS WITH US AND FIGHTING FOR US
This has been the story of 2 Maccabees for the entire 10 days we have been reading
We are not just simply called to engage in battles against Principalities and Powers
We are not just simply called to engage the culture wars
We are called to be BRAVE
We are called to be COURAGEOUS
Because we KNOW THAT GOD IS NEAR US
So the big question is always going to be, “When I take this step, God, am I taking this step for you? Or is this step just for myself? God, is this battle that I’m taking up arms in for you? Or is this just for myself?”
One of the common temptations of everybody is to say, “I’m going to do this thing in God’s name even though I am not certain that He has asked me to do this.”
So when we read 2 Maccabees and realize Judas Maccabeus and the others that not everything they do is going to honor the Lord
So we recognize, “God, what we do, please help us to only do what honors the Lord.”
Now on to Wisdom of Solomon Ch 10
Yesterday was Ch 9 and we had the intro to the fact that Solomon is going to pray this prayer
Today we get the prayer
The Deeds of Wisdom are so great
It’s almost like a riddle
They are describing these characters from the Old Testament that you and I know but they do not name them
Wisdom 10:1-2, “Wisdom protected the first-formed father of the world, when he alone had been created; she delivered him from his transgression and gave him strength to rule all things.”
Who is that?
Wisdom 10:5, “...recognized the righteous man and preserved him blameless before God, and kept him strong in the face of his compassion for his child.”
Who would that be?
Wisdom 10:6, “Wisdom rescued a righteous man when the ungodly were perishing; he escaped the fire that descended on the Five Cities.”
Who would that be?
Wisdom 10:7, “...a pillar of salt standing as a monument to an unbelieving soul.”
Rewind a little bit and you have the story of Cain and Abel in Wisdom 10:3
We have the story of Noah in Wisdom 10:4, “When the earth was flooded because of him, wisdom again saved it, steering the righteous man by a paltry piece of wood.”
So the Ark of Noah is a paltry piece of wood, eh?
Wisdom 10:10, “When a righteous man fled from his brother’s wrath, she guided him on straight paths; she showed him the kingdom of God...she prospered him in his labors...”
Who is that?
JACOB FLEEING FROM ESAU!!
What is prospering him in his labors?
Remember, he worked for his uncle Laban for 7 years x 2 = 14 years
Wisdom 10:13-14, “When a righteous man was sold, wisdom did not desert him. She delivered him from sin. She descended with him into the dungeon, and when he was in prison she did not leave him, until she brought him the scepter of a kingdom and authority over his masters.”
Who is that?
He had an amazing technicolor dream coat!!
WHAT A GIFT!!
Wisdom 10:18, “She brought them over the Red Sea, and led them through deep waters…”
Who is that?
There is something SO POWERFUL in recognizing that you and I have had our lens shaped so THOROUGHLY over the last 300+ days
Not only do we know the stories, characters, and Biblical allusions
We’ve been not only shaped to know the stories and be familiar with the characters
The MAIN CHARACTER, GOD HIMSELF, we know what it is to recognize his fingerprints in the world around us
Wisdom 10:17, “She gave to holy men the reward of their labors; she guided them along a marvelous way, and became a shelter to them by day, and a starry flame through the night.”
Remember the Pillar of Cloud during the day and the Pillar of Fire during night?
THAT IS WISDOM!!
THAT IS WHAT WE ARE SEEKING!!
WHAT A GIFT!!
Because the Lord promises to all those who seek wisdom, wisdom shall be given
So we are seeking wisdom
We want to have wisdom to see God’s fingerprints, God’s working, God’s action in all of the actions around us
To always have the wisdom to NEVER DEPART FROM GOD
To always have the wisdom to NEVER CLAIM THAT HERE IS GOD’S WILL WHEN WE DON’T KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS
To always have the wisdom to NOT FIGHT A BATTLE THAT GOD IS NOT CALLING US TO FIGHT
To always have the wisdom to NEVER EVER DO ANYTHING IN GOD’S NAME THAT HE IS NOT CALLING US TO DO IN HIS NAME
To always have the wisdom to ALWAYS RELY UPON HIM
To always have the wisdom to recognize that WITH GOD OUR PATHS WILL BE STRAIGHT EVEN IF THEY ARE DIFFICULT
As Jesus reminded his Apostles, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
So we are praying for each other
While God is with us, this life is still a BATTLE
This life is still DIFFICULT
This road can still be INCREDIBLY ROUGH
This large community needs to pray for each other
This might be a horrible, difficult season for our brothers and sisters who are listening
So if this is YOUR horrible season right now, know of our prayers
WE ARE LITERALLY PRAYING FOR YOU RIGHT NOW
WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU RIGHT NOW
“Lord God, please be with our brothers and sisters who are right now in the midst of trial, in the midst of a season of suffering. Be with them. Lift them up. Help them to never give into discouragement. But give them courage, because you have overcome the world.”
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. Thank you, God, for your goodness and thank you for this day. Thank you for a new day. And we know that with every new day, your mercies are new as well. Your love for us is constant. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. And we praise you. Help us to live this day as yours. Help us to live this day as sons and daughters. Help us to live this day belonging to you and doing your will, because you continue to shape the way that we see who you are and the way we see who you made us to be and who you are calling us to be to our brothers and sisters. Help us to love you above everything and to love our neighbors as ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”