Day 312: Conclusion to the Old Testament
2 Maccabees 15:1-39 Nicanor placed himself explicitly on a plane even above God himself. Reminded that the “Sovereign in heaven” established the Sabbath rest, he stated that he himself was a sovereign and commanded an attack on Judas’ army on the Sabbath. Judas’ dream symbolically granted him permission to fight on the Sabbath: Onias represented the Law, Jeremiah represented the prophets, and both encouraged Judas to take his army into battle against Nicanor’s army. The Syrian forces were defeated, Nicanor was killed, and his decapitated head was displayed for the viewing of the Syrians stationed in Jerusalem.
Ch 15:37 Historically, the Jews won a victory and reassumed control of the Temple, but they had not yet recovered the entire city since the Syrians still controlled the citadel in Jerusalem.
Wisdom 19:1-22 Throughout the Exodus narrative, God’s justice and mercy are most evident: The Egyptians suffered the pain of divine punishment for refusing to treat the Jewish people with dignity and grant them freedom. In the case of the plagues, God worked preternatural phenomena to achieve his will. God readily forgives the repentant sinner but will mete out just punishment to those who persist in their evil ways.
Ch 19:22 The power of God’s wisdom in leading the Chosen People, and all people of good will, summarizes this book.
Proverbs 25:21-22 The practice of charity toward one’s enemies can sometimes lead to their conversion. For this reason the charity of “coals of fire” is an act of love intended to lead the sinner to repentance and conversion. Though we reject the sin, we always love the sinner with an attitude of wanting to bring about reconciliation and restored friendship. A wrongdoer expects to receive evil for evil, and charity tends to defuse that vicious cycle. (CCC 1933, 2303, 2844)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
It is the final day of the Old Testament!!
We will still hang out with Proverbs, don’t worry
You will be able to say by the end of today that you have read the ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT!!
So here we are, you guys!!
THIS IS AMAZING!!
We’ve just concluded 2 Maccabees
Tomorrow we will have a two-fer
We will have a Messianic Checkpoint for the Gospel of Luke
Prepare yourselves for that
What a gift it is to have Jeff Cavins, isn’t it?
Fr. Mike can gush
But he’s not going to gush anymore
Let’s go to the last chapter in 2 Maccabees
There’s a line here of what really motivated the Maccabees and those who were fighting
Here is Judas Maccabeus who is encouraging the people to fight
Not relying on their own swords or speakers
Not relying on their own strength
Relying on the help that came from the Lord
What is it for?
2 Maccabees 15:18, “Their concern for wives and children, and also for brethren and relatives, lay upon them less heavily; their greatest and first fear was for the consecrated sanctuary.”
There is something about this that highlights what is the motivation
Of course they loved their wives and children
Of course they loved their brethren and relatives
But it weighed upon them less heavily than the consecrated sanctuary
The thing was to DEFEND THE TEMPLE
The thing was to be able to KEEP THAT PLACE OF WORSHIP OF GOD PURE
Think about this
What would our lives be like if that was our passion? If that was our pursuit?
“Lord, for your honor. For the honor of your name.”
Not that we would go over to violence
But that we would defend and keep our worship pure
When it comes to offering the sacrifice of the Mass to be able to say, “Lord, that is the most important thing.”
More important than hockey
More important than the idols in our lives
Even more important than the people we love is your Temple
More important than the people we love is the EUCHARIST
This is the foreshadowing of how Jesus says to his disciples, “If you want to be my disciple, you gotta love me more than anything else.”
That’s where we are headed tomorrow
Tomorrow we begin the Gospel of Luke
What does it look like to follow Jesus?
What does Jesus look like?
Fr. Mike’s invitation to us as we read through the Gospel of St. Luke is not just to WATCH JESUS
LISTEN TO HOW JESUS ACTS
LISTEN TO HOW JESUS LIVES
Now on to Wisdom of Solomon Ch 19
It’s kind of the conclusion in some ways to the story of Exodus
It’s not really because we know there is all these wilderness wanderings
We have the red sea
We have the people of Egypt who change their minds when they told the Hebrews to leave and then they went in pursuit of them
We also have how God continued to fight for his people and continued to bring them from this place of slavery to a place of freedom
Wisdom 19:22, “For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people; and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places.”
We know the story
We know the story is not pretty
We know the story is not always beautiful, clean, or neat
We can still affirm that God did not neglect to help them at all times in all places even if there was trouble
Even if there was suffering
Even when there was death
God did not neglect to help them at all times and in all places
That’s what God does for us too
“God, we just pray that you help us to have eyes to see this, that you are present even in the midst of our brokenness.”
Let’s pray for each other you guys
In this community there are people right now and this is the worst day of their life
If that is you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much. Thank you for not only for your justice, but also for your mercy and how you teach us to love our enemies and do good for those who hate us. Thank you for that. Help us to be able to do it. Help us to even love our neighbors. Help us to even love our friends well. Because Lord, when it comes to love, it is what we are made for. And it’s something we struggle to do. So help us. Help us this day and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”