Day 308: Little by Little

2 Maccabees 11:1-38 Lysias, the guardian of the young Antiochus V Eupator, desired to transform Jerusalem into a fully Hellenized society. Judas and his army, however, engaged Lysias before he reached Jerusalem. Here we find one of many visions of angelic horsemen racing into battle; these visions were interpreted as a sign of God’s overwhelming assistance in their military endeavor. The Maccabees defeated Lysias soundly and, therefore, obtained freedom to worship and the right to hold on to their culture and traditions. (CCC 333, 1905-1912)

Wisdom 11:1-20 The divine wisdom that was transmitted to Moses led the Israelites on their arduous path to the Promised Land. This narrative leads into a direct prayer that acknowledges God’s unfailing help, which included disciplining his people “in mercy.” Egypt was punished for its sins of idolatry and for imposing slavery on the Israelites. Nevertheless, God showed restraint in punishing the Egyptians in hopes of bringing them to repentance. 

Ch 11:17-26 The creation of the material world is meant to serve human beings, who are created in God’s image. All of creation is both inspired and governed by God’s wisdom, also called the divine Word. Hence, we pray in the Nicene Creed, “Through [Christ] all things were made.” (CCC 269-270, 299, 317-318)

Ch 11:24-26 Upon creating Adam and Eve, God gave them dominion over all the earth, entrusting it to their stewardship. Through responsible stewardship, we share in a finite way in God’s creative wisdom through use of mind and will. All of creation has giving glory to God as its end. Specifically, material creation glorifies God by serving the needs of man and woman and giving them a means of contemplating the goodness of God. (CCC 301, 373)

Ch 12:1-11 The religion of the Canaanites, who occupied the Promised Land prior to the arrival of the Israelites, was characterized by idolatry. In his wisdom God punished them as a means to elicit their repentance, though in his omniscience he knew there would be no change of heart. 

Ch 12:12-27 God showed great mercy to the people of Israel, chastising them in order to bring them to repentance, while punishing the wicked with far greater severity. The author relates that God is the source of justice and, therefore, is accountable to no one. God’s perfection is infinite, which means that he is the unlimited perfection of every virtue, including justice. (CCC 271, 2009)

Ch 12:22 If we show mercy in judging others, then God will judge us mercifully. This priority of mercy is reflected in the Lord’s Prayer-”Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt 6:12)-and in the Beatitudes-“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7). Meditation on God’s Word and on the events impacting our lives leads us to perceive God’s will. (CCC 1425, 1716, 2705-2706)

Proverbs 25:9-10 Although there is an obligation to tell the truth always, not every person has a right to all information. Often, out of charity for others, respect for privacy, or consideration for the common good, it is very important to exercise prudent discretion. This moderation of speech prevents harm to the reputation of others and fosters respect for their dignity and good name. (CCC 2489)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. We thank you so much. Lord God, the prayers that we just lift up today, we ask that you please hear the cries of our hearts. You know our pain and you know our suffering. You know our longing and you know our desperation. We are so often so desperate in this life and we know that you hear us. We know that you care and so, Lord God, on behalf of every person who cries out desperately today, we ask you to please not only hear their prayers, because we know that you hear their prayers. But let them know that you hear their voice. You know their pain. You know their grief. You know their desperation. Be with them now. Be with us now. We thank you for your Word. We thank you for your Holy Spirit given to us that fills us and guides us and gives us courage to take another step today. Help us to take another step today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”