90 Day Challenge – Day 74

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Bible Time Period: Maccabean Revolt

Mattathias and his sons stood up against the threats of Hellenization: Help me resist worldliness in the culture and follow only you.

Period Preview

The Babylonian exile came to an end when Cyrus, King of Persia, came to power and freed the Judeans to return and rebuild the Temple.  Those who made the journey south did so in three stages.  Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, they rebuilt the Temple and the Jerusalem walls and learned from God’s Law.  At the close of our reading, we saw the people confess their sins and make another covenant – a binding agreement – with the Lord.

After this “remnant” of Jews returned to the land, they lived in relative peace for a century and were quite faithful to the Covenant.  Around 336 BC, Alexander the Great swept across Asia, conquering nations and extending the rule of a new power, Greece.  He aimed to unify the world under Greek language and culture – a process we know as hellenization.  This practice continued to a varying extent under his successors and reached its height under Antiochus Epiphanes, who came to power in 175 BC.  He began a policy of radical hellenization under which he determined to eradicate the Jewish religion.  This sets the scene for our next period:  Maccabean Revolt.  The time period begins with the actual revolt of the Maccabees and takes us up to the end of the Old Testament.

Historical note:  the crowning event of this period comes in chapter 4 with the purification of the Temple three years after its desecration.  According to the Talmud, oil that was only enough for one lamp lasted miraculously eight days.  The event is commemorated today as Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights.

Today’s Reading

I Maccabees 1-4

Today’s Question

Explain the threat Israel faces in chapter 1.  What does Judas Maccabeus depend upon to win against armies far greater than his own (chapter 3)?

Join the discussion below!

Sarah Christmyer

Sarah Christmyer is co-developer with Jeff Cavins of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program. She serves as Strategic Consultant of The Great Adventure and is author or co-author of a number of the studies. Sarah has thirty years of experience leading and teaching Bible studies. She helped launch Catholic Scripture Study and is co-author of "Genesis Part I: God and His Creation" and "Genesis Part II: God and His Family," published by Emmaus Road. Sarah has a BA in English literature from Gordon College in Wenham, MA, and is working toward a Masters of Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Raised in a strong evangelical family, she was received into the Catholic Church in 1992. Sarah also writes at comeintotheword.com/.

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  • Carla Archuleta

    The Gentiles are wanting their evil ways to take over. With the help of Judas Maccabeus truly understanding to take trust in God he is not willing to allow them to take over. He revolts against them through God.

    Today our world is still so divided: Followers and believers of God through Jesus and Gentiles following false gods and believers.

  • Marianne

    The king commands the Israelites to conform to the pagan ways and abandon their own religious practices. But they refuse, preferring to “all die in innocence; heaven and earth are our witnesses that you destroy us unjustly.” (1 Macc 2:37) For “it is better for us to die in battle than to witness the evils befalling our nation and our sanctuary. Whatever is willed in heaven will be done.” (1 Macc 3:59-60)

    Judas reminded the men that their ancestors were saved in the Red Sea. “So now let us cry to Heaven in the hope that he will favor us, remember the covenant with our ancestors, and destroy this army before us today. All the Gentiles shall know that there is One who redeems and delivers Israel.” (1 Macc 4:10-11)

    Some things never change. We are still persecuted for our beliefs even today. We are still mocked and scorned for not conforming to the ways of the world. However, it still holds true today that our hope is in the Lord. We need to hold firm to our faith when the world attacks us. It may seem easier to conform, but it’s not.

    There was a beautiful reflection today in the Magnificat Lenten Companion. It says that St. Patrick also had to face persecution: “St. Patrick reminds us that for those who follow Christ, persecution and misunderstanding are guaranteed. Despite persecution however, the work of Christ goes on, bringing health to the sick and faith to the pagan. May we be so blessed as to be persecuted for our success in Christ’s service.”

    And may we in turn, also bless the Savior of Israel for protecting us in battle.

  • The desire of the Hellenizing party In Israel to co-operate with Antiochus represents an attempt to seek favor, but must also be, I suggest, understood as the latest demonstration of the chronic tendency amongst the Jews to assimilate themselves as much as possible to the religious and social conditions of their neighbors. The institution of the (characteristically Greek) gymnasium led to a desire to conceal the traces of circumcision, a desire with obvious religious implications. The practices hinted at in the words ‘sold themselves to do evil’ remind us of one of the great moral dangers of the new tendencies. In Chapter 3, Judas had mustered an assembly of faithful men ready for war. He turned toward God and remembered and told the men … “Many are easily hemmed in by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few; for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven.” He turns to God.

  • Margie

    The deepest threat Israel faces are the Kings commands to follow his religion and give up all they have gained from the sacrifices of their ancestors. Judas faced the problem of his small army against the King’s army who were so cruel and barbaric. Judas has to depend upon his faith that God will protect him and help his army to defeat the enemy. I noticed at this time in the Bible God doesn’t use a prophet, an angel or priest to speak the words of advise and support from God as previously done in the Books of Exodus, Numbers, or Judges. Judas must rely solely on his faith and integrity that God will be with him through all his battles. This is a good lesson for me that the presence of God must rely solely on my faith also.

  • pnkyB4brain

    How familiar is this story! When the Jewish people said “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us.” 1 Maccabees, 1:11. It reminded me of instead of concentrating on what God wanted, the Jewish people would have rather taken the easy way out.
    I will get to my comment about the question about this reading momentarily. My days and nights have been consumed with either worrying about my daughter or being with her. It seems as if her body is shutting down ever so slowly. I am so close to getting angry with God because I can see no understanding nor reason why this is happening to her. My daughter has always been such an athlete. However, I am rambling. Thank you for the prayers and best wishes. You are such a wonderful group of people. I have been searching my heart and soul to find another avenue rather than being angry with My heavenly Father.
    I was so impressed with Judas Maccabeus how he was determined to get the Jewish people back onto the RIGHT road towards God, their heavenly Father.
    How easy it is for the devil to take charge of the complacent, disgruntled, and weak of spirit.

    • Marianne

      My heart goes out to you, pnkyB4brain. I went through a tough couple weeks recently where it seemed like EVERYTHING was going wrong. And of course, not to the degree of suffering that you are going through. I felt like Job, and I felt determined like Job that I was NOT going to curse God. Rather, I thanked Him every morning, even for all the things that were going wrong. Perhaps for perspective, if anybody besides Job had the right to grumble, think about Abraham. Asked to sacrifice his own son… And God Himself sacrificed His Son. Don’t feel like you are rambling. We are here for you. And God is there for you and your daughter, never forget that. Be strong for her. Cherish her. And give her the gift of your faith.

      • pnkyB4brain

        Marianne, Thank you. You are a unique individual and give such sagacious advice. May God bless you.

        • Marianne

          Thank you. It is an honor to know you and walk with you.
          Blessings,
          Mar

          • pnkyB4brain

            I feel the same about you. I am taking your words to heart and will try to rise above my selfishness and try and see the whole picture and thank God for all I have whether it be good or bad. You know, that’s a hard thing to do! Thank you, Mar.

          • Marianne

            You’re not being selfish! You are acting out of love for your daughter. It’s difficult to watch a precious child (no matter the age) suffer. And you’re right, it is EXTREMELY hard to do. With prayers…

    • Margie

      So sorry for your pain, you will be remembered in my prayers for you and your loved ones, especially your daughter. God will give you strength.

      • pnkyB4brain

        Margie, Thank you for your well wishes. The group of people that are participating in this bible challenge are some outstanding individuals. God bless you.

        • PnkyB4brain, I recently lost my 26 year old son, a really great boy by todays standards, by far not an angel or saint, but a saintly boy who went to church and struggled to show his religious side in a world that runs from that. I was extremely mad at God and actually did not believe for a period of about two weeks. Too long a story for here, but you can get mad at God, and he understands. It’s us that never understand and we can either give up and see NO SENSE, or continue the struggle and find the answer. As you can see by me being here, I regained my belief and continually struggle to find the answer. Many of my friends say I am living the answer but I’m still too bitter to see it. Whatever it is, I have been blessed with wonderful ‘signs’ that I prayed diligently for and know not only that God is there for us but he graciously allows my son to show me the signs I look for. I will pray for your daughter. What is her name? Blessings and Graces to You and your family.

          Anthony

          • Marianne

            My deepest, sincerest condolences to you and your family, Anthony. There are no words and no apparent logic. I’m glad God has granted you these signs and I pray that it offers some comfort to know that God is listening and may you be assured that your son is in His tender care.

            The dogwood in my front yard has special meaning for me and always reminds me of my daddy, who used to have dozens of dogwoods in his yard. I recently looked up from my prayers and saw a cardinal on one of the branches. I went to get my camera but then it was gone. I wondered if there was a significance to the cardinal. I looked it up I read that they symbolize a loved one who has passed and when you see one, it means they are visiting you. They usually show up when you most need them or miss them and they will always be with you. This happened at a particularly tough time for me and when I read this, I instantly thought of my dad. And them I realized, how beautiful that the cardinal should land on the dogwood as I was praying.

            How blessed we are when we see evidence that God hears our prayers and never abandons us.
            With blessings and prayers,
            Mar

          • Marianne Thank You for your story. I heard the story of the cardinals and I rejected many signs like these simply because I didn’t want to think everything was a sign. I immediately thought about the woman who saw Jesus on the taco chip–you know what I mean. But a friend of mine saw some of the signs and told me I was rejecting some pretty strong signs. One was so spectacular I started sharing the story, but it was difficult so I made a video since it was a show-and-tell kind of story. I will share that video link soon here to share with you all. But I have let the guard down and accept the signs. Three weeks ago I was at my Uncles funeral and he was to be buried right next to my son. He, as everyone else, Loved him so dearly and he was very broken up by the loss. Well I went ahead of the funeral procession so I could let a good cry out before anyone arrived, after all it was going to be a sore moment with the ground opened again next to my son AJ. Well as expected I cried a lot when all of sudden a bird landed on the cement where the stone was (they had to move the stone temporarily for the ground digging). Well I have this criteria for a sign: it has to be accompanied by two others-If 3 things happen that all relate to each other, I call it an authentic sign. And yes, my many signs have come in 3’s… all of them. Well the bird didn’t amaze me-what did was the two accompanying cardinals (3 cardinals) that came a moment later. Of course I cried harder then abruptly stopped. That was a wonderful moment. For me, the signs had to be so apparent I couldn’t deny them. Does God have patience? Oh yeah 🙂 Thank You again for your story and well wishes. PNKY- God will be with you no matter What happens. Keep him close and like the Israelites, you will weather any storm. God Bless You All xo

          • Marianne

            Oh I see signs all over the place. Especially in nature. Especially in and around my home. Though I do disregard the taco chips!

            Yes, it’s very common that things happen in 3’s. Usually for me, there will be a visual sign, then I’ll stumble on a Scripture passage, and I’ll hear it discussed somewhere… whether in a homily or in a general discussion or even just a sentence in passing. And it clicks…

            Anthony, perhaps the three cardinals represent (1) AJ, (2) your uncle and (3)… Jesus…

          • pnkyB4brain

            Anthony, your sharing has really helped me. My daughter’s name is Karin and one of the most fantastic people anyone has ever encountered! May God bless you for your words.

    • Fisher

      I just want to say how sorry I am to hear about your daughter. No matter how old they are, we never give up our parental love and concern….By the way, I honestly believe it is okay to be angry with God. His shoulders are quite strong, and he knows your heart, anyway. Be angry! But definitely take it to Him…Lay it at the foot of the Cross; express your honest feelings and desires. My hope and prayer for you is that you will receive answers to your prayers in the forms of strength, comfort, peace and healing for yourself and your daughter.

      • pnkyB4brain

        Fisher, Thank you. My anger has settled a bit and I am trying to accept and give back to God this power that I really don’t have (does that make any sense?), but I struggle with this each day. It is so hard to see someone you love in constant pain. Thank you, again and may God bless.

        • Fisher

          You make perfect sense; you also are a comfort and fine example to those of us who have not faced this kind of devastation. So thank YOU and God bless YOU for trusting us with this burden that we may prop you up in prayer.

    • Rosi

      So sorry to hear of your daughter’s health problems. I will keep her in my prayers.

      • pnkyB4brain

        Thank you, Rosi for your good thoughts. May God bless you.

  • Susan

    The great foe in the first Chapter of Maccabean is Greeks and their determined Hellenization of the conquered world under them – the Greeks were the next great power of the world after the Egyptians, Syrians, and Persians but not as great as the Romans who are to come. Each of these powers has been determined to normalize the Israelites and incorporate them into their ideology thus eradicating the belief in the Lord. Because one of the distinguishing factors of the Jews was that they were circumcised, the Greeks had great gymnasiums where men came together – the men were always naked in gymnasium allowing the Greek officials to know immediately if there was a Jew in their midst. The horror of what the Greeks would do to Jews when found uncircumcised was ghastly and so very sad, especially for the infants.
    The Maccabees and their countryman had God on their side as they showed themselves to be true to the Jewish law and the commandments, ordinances, and laws of the Lord. The Lord delivered their many, many foes into their hands allowing them to reclaim their beloved Jerusalem, its surrounds, and to rebuild and sanctify their temple and worship again.

    • Rosi

      Our priest once mentioned that there have been more martyrs in the past century (20th and 21st) than in the past 2000 years. I never thought I would be witnessing it being reported in our currant news today. We need to pray for a major conversion in our world…and of course, for all those who are being abused and those who have died.
      God have mercy.

  • Marian Potts

    The Jews fell back into their pagan ways wanting to be like the Gentiles, however there were faithful one who fled to the hills. When Antiocus wanted to force everyone to worship idols and they refused he sought to destroy them. Maccabees led the people and even though they were greatly outnumbered he believed it was better to die than to abandon the Lord. Not by might or strength but by the Lord did they prevail against their enemies. It is a beautiful testimony of faith.

    • pnkyB4brain

      Your words speak volumes, Susan. Thank you for this timely reminder! Especially about the martyrs of today! May God bless!

  • Avila

    1Maccabees:3: 19 stood out for me “18: But Judas said: “Many are
    easily hemmed in by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference
    between deliverance by many or by few;
    19 for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven.” As the others have mentioned relativism is the new hellenization, but these 2 verses offer us the hope (combined with Jesus saying that the very gates of hell would not prevail against His Church”) that like the Israelites we will recover, return, stand strong and slay our enemies. The enemies being sin, but not the sinners as they need the opportunity to repent and be reconciled to God.

    • Fisher

      I highlighted the same verses in my Bible. I like your thoughts concerning this.

    • Rosi

      A little gold nugget, giving hope and increasing faith and trust in the Lord!

  • Fisher

    The only thing I can add to the full treatment already presented today is this message I saw on a church marquis while driving this morning: “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”
    It can be noted, and Judas Maccabeus is no exception, that all the effective and faithful leaders throughout the OT put their full trust in God’s providence and before acting BATHED EVERYTHING IN PRAYER. Thus, they allowed God to steer them in the right direction. I maintain that “spare tire prayer” is akin to seeking forgiveness rather than permission; always a risk in relation to faith growth.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      I also noticed that that whenever the Jewish leaders prayed for Guidence they Prayed that their sucess may show God’s Power and Glory to the pagans. And not for their own glory so they could build a monument to themselves as Saul did

      • Fisher

        True examples of humility.

    • Marianne

      Amen, Fisher! So the question is, do we want to shove God into the bottom of the trunk, or is He right up front with us, leading the way?

      Another one of my favorite “billboard” sayings is “If God is your copilot, switch seats”. I’d rather trust God with the steering than rely on my own efforts to take control.

      • Fisher

        In theory, I agree with you about trusting God with the steering; in reality (and to my detriment), I tend to grab the wheel too often! Sigh.

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          Don’t we all. I think is the media Dr. Phil saying “Take control of your life’ How many books are out there with titles like X number of steps to control your life etc “The only way to control your life is to put God in control but you must always listen carefully and always pray “Thy will be done” One can contemplate that part of the Lord’s Prayer for many hours”

    • MarcAlcan

      Don’t quite agree with the steering wheel analogy. The steering wheel is still in your hands so you are in control. That would be like you controlling God.
      More properly, God should be in the driver’s seat.

      • Fisher

        Semantics….Yet we are called to work in communion with God, so one could say we ask His assistance in steering. Or, this could be interpreted, as I take it, metaphorically. How is it more proper to say God is in the driver’s seat when I still sit there holding the wheel?

        • MarcAlcan

          That is precisely my point. That we should not be holding the wheel.
          The analogy that another one gave is better. If I remember correctly it goes like this: If God is your co-pilot, switch seats.

          • Fisher

            Whichever you like; it’s all analogy and metaphor, so whatever floats your boat….Speaking of which:y nephew was in the Coast Guard and looking for some distressed boat people late one night. He was scared for them because they had been looking for a long time. He finally , in prayer, said, “Jesus take the wheel.” He let go of the wheel and the boat steered right to those poor people.
            it would be less prudent to do such a thing in a car, and a lot less safe for the other drivers on the road – whether one let’s go of the wheel or switches to the passenger seat! Metaphor for allowing Jesus to steer us in the right direction – essentially Him using our hands to guide us. I look at it as seeking discernment, and understanding Who is really in charge; how I should rely on God’s perfect wisdom and understanding to lead me. Be in communion/one with the Lord.

      • Marianne

        The way I interpreted Fisher’s analogy was in reference to prayer. Note that the original message on the marquis was “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”
        Two separate and distinct messages. As it pertains to prayer, I think it is a valid point, and does not take away from God who is in control (the pilot) but simply referring to our human efforts of prayer and dialogue with Him.
        Peace,
        Mar

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    The threat is Hellenism. It is very subtle at first. They build a really great club house and invite the youth. Pretty soon the youth have abandoned the faith. Then the Greeks believe that they have enough influence to to make their into law. They have done all of this with a group of “leave your faith at the Temple door” Jews. The lies continued and the faith-weakened Jews fell for the lies. Mattathias, and his five sons flee to Modein but there is no refuge there. There have been many times in my life I have felt as Mattathias felt ““Woe is me! Why was I born
    to see the ruin of my people
    I feel this way when I important individuals in politics and the media touting themselves as good Catholics then advocating the slaughter of innocent children.
    Mattathias has been a good father. His sons are strong in the faith. Judas and his brothers rely on the LORD. to give them victories against great odds. ,

  • Carla Archuleta

    Another glimpse of hope that if we truly believe in God, he will watch over us.

    The threat comes about when Antiochus Epiphanes is released from prison. His satanic powers are running high. He hungers for followers so that he is not the only on going against the law of God. He rally’s up those easy to persuade.

    Although Antiochus really causes a lot of evil amongst the people, along comes Maccabees with the almighty power and direction from God. He is amazing because as others great kings he does not give up; instead he seeks people who were ready to do what they needed to, in support of God and his Law, which may have lead to giving up their life. Besides having God’s hand over him through this trial he did everything to prepare and win the battle against Antiochus. Halleluia!,

    God help me to weather the storms in my life just as Maccabee and other kings did for Your sake. May we all choose to enjoy the weekend and stay closer to God most especially during this Lenten season.

  • Andy

    I think the threat in Chapter 1 is a cultural one. Be like everyone else, and your life will be easier. We are in similar times now. We don’t have Hellenization, but we do have moral relativism. As Catholics we need to hold fast to the truth of the Church. This means we have to be different from those around us.

    • Fisher

      Amen. Different not because we are holier, but because we strive to achieve holiness.

  • Judy

    Well said Beverly and pnkyB4brain! The world power is again trying to wipe out Israel/Judah. However, God is again faithful to his faithful servants and helped those who trusted in him. Judah was a mighty warrior and humble and gave God thanks often.

    • Jeanne

      I think that the world power is trying to wipe out all of religion. They want a secular world. It is my belief that our own government has its foot on the throat of Christianity. Soldiers can’t express their religion!!What nonsense. We need to pray hard for the freedom of Christianity every where especially here in America.

      • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

        Your first sentence its the crux of the issue. Evil hates religion…God…but it doesn’t make a frontal attack..it hits us from the side…at our weakest points…that is why we must fortify those areas…where we are weakest in virtue…and for each of us that is a different thing. It doesn’t do any good to put the blame on an outside force, when we ourselves have weak areas to contend with. Jesus put this way: Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” We need to look to our own speck first, then maybe we can look at our brother in a clearer fashion…

        • Fisher

          You are absolutely right; chapter 1 of Maccabees details the erosion of faith from within while forces from without were mounting attacks.

      • Judy

        Agree!

      • Fisher

        Don’t be too sure about the military and religious freedom….My daughter attended the Naval Academy and they were told they needed to stop praying at meal times. The Academy has refused to do so. Also, there are still chaplains on the ships — I had a very good discussion with the Protestant chaplain on my niece’s ship when I was privileged to take an 8-day cruise from Hawaii to San Diego at the end of their deployment. He was incredibly ecumenical and very supportive of the communion services offered to Catholics. On Sundays aboard the ship the service members are allowed time to worship.

        • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

          When I was teaching in public school, of course you couldn’t pray either…but you know NO ONE controls your mind!! Pray silently in your mind in quiet times…They can’t control what your mind thinks about. Pray over them in your mind…that is what I did daily over all of my students!! It really works!! God is faithful, He answers our prayers in stressful times…

          • Fisher

            Reminds me of our parish priest in Kansas. He had dinner with us one evening and was saying that Catholic children should be attending Catholic schools because they have taken God out of public schools. (Understand, I have nothing against parochial schools; personal choice and circumstances dictate this for everyone.) I said that as long as my daughter was in the public school, God was present. She was very faithful and I wanted her to be comfortable defending her faith. She hung with a very ecumenical crowd, too.

          • Marianne

            Great thread going on here! What comes to mind here, Bev, is “they can kill the body but they cannot kill the soul”. (Mathew 10:28)

            We need to be vigilant in our prayers for this country, the world, for those in positions of authority, and for the Church. We need to pray for our enemies. We need to pray for respect for the dignity of ALL human life, at all levels. I always shake my head in disgust when I think of how our forefathers must be turning in their graves. They fought valiantly so we could have freedom OF religion. Now our liberties are at risk because our government is trying to give its citizens freedom FROM religion.

        • Jeanne

          This is good to hear. I was thinking about the cadet that had a bible verse on his white board and was told to remove it. I think in solidarity the other cadets wrote verses on their boards.

          • Fisher

            Love those conscientious objectors and rebels for the Cause!

      • Rosi

        I totally agree with you Jeanne. I think our government leaders, at least the ones in the White House now and those in his administration, are very subtly working at taking our freedoms away, including our religious freedom. So many things that are morally wrong are now protected by laws and encouraged in our society. If one stands up and speaks God’s Truth, you are ridiculed as a hate-monger or at least insensitive to other’s ‘rights’. And what are the ‘rights’? Certainly not free-speech… The ‘rights’ are the freedom to kill your child in the womb…the freedom to end your own life to avoid any suffering from terminal illness….the freedom to desecrate the Sacrament of Marriage by entering into a union of same-sex abomination….the freedoms of calling evil good, and good evil. But NOT the freedom to bring God and His Truths into our public schools, work-places and even some hospitals. Things are rapidly changing in our Country and if we as a nation, don’t repent and turn back to God getting on our knees and pleading for God’s Mercy and forgiveness…and His help…..we will loose ALL our freedoms and be ripe for a take-over. God have mercy!

        • Marianne

          You are right on ALL counts Rosi. We MUST pray for all those who do speak up for the Truth, only to be ridiculed, vilified, and falsely accused. This evil is all around us; it’s not just in a distant land or ancient history. It’s happening in our very own neighborhoods. We know it has happened to some of our friends here on this forum. It just happened to a very special person I know… all she did was speak the Truth.

          In “The Little Black Book” of Lenten meditations last Friday, it spoke of Jesus standing before his accusers. The author wrote, “I can identify with Jesus here. Something I say is taken the wrong way. Or I didn’t say it at all. Or I said the very opposite. But it’s been twisted. I later hear how this is being passed around, characterized in a distorted way, all sorts of motives ascribed. What will others say when they hear about it? Yet I’m helpless to stop it. It happens in families, at work, in any group.” It continues, “As Jesus stands before Pilate and listens to what his accusers are saying, I can put myself in his shoes. Which, by the way, is a good way to pray. Do it for a few minutes.”

          Also there was just a beautiful reflection in the Magnificat Lenten Companion. It says that St. Patrick also had to face persecution: “St. Patrick reminds us that for those who follow Christ, persecution and misunderstanding are guaranteed. Despite persecution however, the work of Christ goes on, bringing health to the sick and faith to the pagan. May we be so blessed as to be persecuted for our success in Christ’s service.” (Reflection based on John 5:1-6) Fr. Ambrose Little
          (with a prayer…) “Father of mercy, help all those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. May they bring the peace of Christ to both friend and foe, and may you bring them into your kingdom.”

          May we be richly “blessed as to be persecuted for our success in Christ’s service”. And may we be brave enough to stand in Jesus’ shoes…

  • pnkyB4brain

    Beverly’s comment is beautiful! You have given me such a new perspective of my faith! Thank you.
    Again, this is a battle(s) between good and evil. The Jewish people saw their temple, their town and their families torn apart. What was so shameful about this pillage of Jerusalem is the Jewish people fell back into their complacency role and abandoned the holy covenant prior to the attack and the conquer of the holy city of Jerusalem. Antiochus was ruthless with his plunder and how he defiled the temple. It was a sad day for the chosen people.
    When Judas, the warrior son of the five sons of Mattathias was chosen to lead the army that fought for God’s commandments and covenant (this in my interpretation), he relied on the grace of God to help his army defeat the enemy. Time after time, he succeeded in making a name for himself as one who won battles. Judas would “fortify” his troops with examples from the Bible concerning their Jewish ancestors and how the people needed to put their faith in God and let God assist them in their time of need. God did assist them and Judas and his followers rebuilt the Temple and honored God.
    I have been so remiss in not thanking our Father in heaven for what he does for me. When things go my way, I forget that one little, I mean huge, detail. I will fight for my faith and will begin to thank God for the many, many gifts he has bestowed upon me.

    • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

      Thank you. I have a “thank you” jar in my kitchen…I put thank yous in it for all kinds of things through out the year…then on the 1st of Jan. I read through the year’s collection. It reminds of the many blessings God has provided for me through out the year. This is just a little exercise in gratitude…:)

      • Fran

        Love that idea! Will be making one for our family. Thank you!

  • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

    Again Israel faces forces greater than hers. Yet Maccabeus, being a man of faith, depends on God to see them through the battles…and God is there once again for the Israelite army. And in the end they are able to win back the temple and purify it to the Lord again. How great is the Lord…What I see and especially important to us is that when the chips are down when the Israelites depend on God, they are successful in their pursuits. Great lesson for us…we need to remember in our times…pray to God, then not only depend on God to be there, but see God there in the battle with you…Also, bring along side of you those like-minded as yourself in your troubles. Going out to win a battle alone is not what God wants of us…we need to have God and others with us to fight the battle. It doesn’t matter the size of your “army”, it just needs to be others and God…God will make up for that which is lacking in size or quantity. Lord, as I face my “battles” today, I put You in charge…I will call on others to help me in my battle and in my fight to win against all odds. Amen.

    • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

      I wrote these comments last year…and woe is me!! I did not listen to my own advice when it came to certain parts of my life…instead, I “walled” the weak areas, keeping them to myself…not allowing God or others to intervene in those areas…This year, I have opened up one of these areas…my bipolar illness acts up particularly during the Advent and Lenten seasons…so I have made some life changes to help in this area; have let some friends and my pastor and others know what to look for when I am having problems…then I have just “let go and let God”….so far this Lenten season has been amazing…God, my husband, my family, my friends, my Church community do see us through…of course, God will take me down the path that He wishes me to take…but whatever that may be, I know it will the path that God wishes for me to take at this time in my life. As my Spiritual Director says…love and trust and rest in God…

    • Carolyn

      During a time of struggle, these words speak volumes! Thank you for your insight and for confirming the process I have chosen to deal with my struggle.