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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Monday, September 9, 2019

1 Maccabees, Chapter 9, Verse 6
When they saw the great number of the troops, they were very much afraid, and many slipped away from the camp, until only eight hundred of them remained.

The rats are the first to leave a sinking ship. You can tell when something is about to fail because large numbers of people begin to leave it.

Death of Judas Maccabee[1]

Judas cleverly negotiated a treaty of alliance with Rome that recognized Judea as an independent state. For the first time since before the Babylonian exile, the Jews had their own sovereign nation. Demetrius feared a Rome-supported Judea might induce another of his inherited enemies, Egypt, to join the alliance and invade his empire through Judea. Basing his actions on reports that the Maccabean army was disbanding, Demetrius dispatched a 24,000-man expedition in the spring of 160 bc. Sure enough, Judas was unable to mobilize more than 3,000 troops. Joining battle at Elasa, about six miles east of Beth Horon, the armies clashed briefly before the Jewish warriors, demoralized by the eight-to-one odds, broke and fled, leaving their peerless commander with just 800 valiant veterans. Leading his small band in a desperate charge on the enemy’s right flank, Judas killed a great number of Seleucids but failed in the crucial objective of killing their commander, General Bacchides. Instead, Judas and his little group of loyalists were wiped out. It had taken the Syrians far too long, but in Bacchides they finally found a leader capable of concocting viable strategy and instilling needed flexibility into Syrian formations. Considering the overpowering numerical advantage the Syrians enjoyed in that April clash, it could be said the Maccabees were drawn into a trap even if they realized it from the beginning, for they could not afford to allow this pagan multitude to rampage unchecked throughout Judea. Confronting it when they did, before they had time to assemble sufficient soldiers, was unavoidable—and fatal.

The Legacy of Judas Maccabeus

For no small reason, Judas was called “the Hammer.” His unparalleled battlefield adaptability, proficiency in exploiting an enemy’s mistakes, ability to fight at night, and effective use of terrain, surprise, and espionage made him the bane of succeeding Seleucid commanders. After Judas’s death, his brothers Jonathan and Simon eventually achieved the Judean dream of religious and political independence. It was the first time in recorded history that a subject people had won a revolutionary war for religious freedom. Because he fought in just one poorly chronicled war, Judas Maccabeus has largely been lost among the giant shadows cast by Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Shaka Zulu, and other great conquerors. Unlike them, Judas was a man of noble motives who fought because he had no other choice. Unfettered by outmoded convention, he taught himself and his followers to fight via methods too subtle to be perceived by their powerful but outmoded adversaries. Today’s high-tech military strategists would be well served to study the humble partisan leader of long ago, who wanted nothing more for himself and his people than to be allowed to live and worship in peace.


If we look at the modern world, we see nothing but hostility toward the Faith. In the Middle East, Christians are being martyred in the most brutal way. Every day brings a new threat. Persecution is open and the choice is clear: Serve Christ or die. To live and embrace the Faith in such circumstances requires a great deal of holy fearlessness.

Even in the “civilized” West, persecution is no less present, albeit in a different and more subtle form. We are asked by the powers that be to acquiesce, to compromise on the most fundamental moral issues that exist

·         Things like the nature of marriage
·         The protection of innocent human life in the womb
·         The nature and purpose of human sexuality

Our suffering may be in the form of an angry boss, the loss of a business, or simply persecution with words. While no one is holding a knife to our throat, the choice is just as clear: Serve Christ or suffer. Tragically, there are many bishops and prelates who like the Pharisees—fear the opinion of men more than they fear God. There are many in the hierarchy who would rather make peace with the world and its evil ideologies than suffer with Jesus in obedience to the will of God. As St. Paul said, “I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, [they] live as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18). These men will have their reward, but as for us, let us serve Christ. Let us choose always to obey God rather than men, no matter what the cost. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for the holy boldness that he gave on the day of Pentecost to the once cowardly St. Peter. Let us strive after the courage of men like St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher, who joyfully chose martyrdom rather than deny the truths of the Faith. Most of all, let us take up our crosses and follow Christ, who said, “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” May the will of God be done. 
35 Promises of God[3] cont.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”-John 14:27

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Battle for the Soul of America-Day 23
·         Ask for the Prayers and assistance of the Angels

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