Fifteenth Sunday A. Pentecost (25th S. Ord. Time)
2 Maccabees, Chapter 3, Verse 29-30
29 As Heliodorus lay speechless because of God’s action and deprived of any hope of recovery, 30 the people praised the Lord who had marvelously glorified his own place; and the temple, charged so shortly before with fear and commotion, was filled with joy and gladness, now that the almighty Lord had appeared.
As Mr. H approaches the temple both he and his associates encounter the living God where upon he and his associates are thrown into panic and fainting. Then a rider on the magnificent horse charges H and his two companions, who fall to the ground unconscious. Mr. H is then unceremoniously carried away on a stretcher, utterly helpless. The people praise God who has protected the temple. H fearful of his death, have his supporters ask the high priest to pray for him which the High priest does, and Mr. H now proclaims God’s power and majesty and the story continues with:
· Simon Maccabee opposes the high priest Onias.
· Onias is disposed as high priest by his brother Jason who bribes the king and is part of the Hellenistic party.
· Jason doesn’t pay his bribe in a timely manner and is supplanted by Menelaus who offers more but not paying as promised then is on the run.
· The king marches with is army to squash a cities that are not with the program and leaves his trusted henchman Andronicus in charge who promptly murders the ex-high priest Onias.
· Menelaus plunders the temple of its golden vessels and boom back on top; bribes away.
· Jason the bad man with no money dies in exile. Do we see a pattern here?
· Antiochus IV then attacks the Jews and profanes the temple.
· Antiochus IV then proscribes Jewish practices and persecutes the religious.
Eleazar the Martyr
Eleazar was a Jewish man whose story is portrayed in 2 Maccabees 6. Verse 18 describes him as "one of the leading teachers of the law," and "of distinguished bearing." We learn from verse 24 that he was ninety at the time of his death. Under a persecution instigated by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Eleazar was forced to open his mouth and eat pork, but he spat it out and submitted to flogging. He was then privately permitted to eat meat that he could pretend was pork, but he refused and was flogged to death. The narrator relates that in his death he left "a heroic example and a glorious memory," (verse 31). Along with the woman with seven sons depicted in the following chapter, Eleazar, although not actually a Maccabee, is celebrated as one of the "Holy Maccabean Martyrs" by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Their feast day is August 1.
The focus of this Sunday instructs us to weep over lost souls and rejoice over converted ones. Today the church retells the rising of the widow of Nains dead son by Christ.
THE Introit of the Mass of this day is a fervent prayer which may be said in any need or adversity. ‘Bow down Thy ear, O Lord, to me and hear me; save Thy servant, O my God, that trusteth in Thee; have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to Thee all day. Give joy to the soul of Thy servant, for to Thee, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul.”
Prayer. May continued mercy purify and defend Thy Church, O Lord; and since without Thee it cannot remain safe, may it ever be governed by Thy bounty!
EPISTLE. Gal. v. 25, 26; vi. 1-10.
Brethren: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another. And if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. For if any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let everyone prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another. For everyone shall bear his own burden. And let him that is instructed in the word communicate to him that instructeth him, in all good things. Be not deceived: God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption: but he that soweth in the Spirit, of the Spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail: for in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Explanation. From this epistle we learn that humility should teach and admonish us to think little of ourselves to shun self-confidence and vainglory; charity should incite us, on the other hand, to be meek, loving, compassionate, and kind to every man, even to sinners; to administer correction to the erring only with charity, for if this be done with impertinent and insolent zeal, we shall not only fail to correct offenders, but shall ourselves fall into the same temptations and sins; for God, by a common and just judgment, allows the proud, who look down upon others sins, to fall into sin themselves, that they may learn to be humble, and to have compassion upon those who have gone astray.
Aspiration. O St. Paul, procure for me, by thy prayers, the grace of God, that I may continually walk in humility, may always love my neighbor, and, in particular, may bear with patience his faults and frailties, that so I may fulfil the law of God, and reap an abundant harvest.
GOSPEL. Luke vii. 11-16.
Why did Christ have compassion on this widow? To show us that God takes forsaken and afflicted widows under His care, and becomes Himself their comforter and helper, and to teach us that we should do likewise. Christ had, however, still other grounds for His compassion; for He foresaw in this dead youth of Nairn the death of the sinner, and in the affliction of the mother the grief which the Church would suffer over the spiritual loss of so many children.
“Why did Christ say to this widow, Weep not?” To intimate that He would restore her son to her, and at the same time to teach us that we should not mourn and weep to excess for the dead. St. Paul therefore admonishes us not to be sorrowful in regard to the dead, as others who have no hope of resurrection (i. Thess. iv. 12).
Why did Christ command the bearers to stand still? To awaken their confidence and to put it beyond doubt that the resurrection of the dead proceeded from Him. This should teach us that a soul that is dead cannot be restored to life so long as the passions which have caused its death, and borne it, as it were, to the grave, are not brought to a stop.
What more do we learn from this gospel? That no one, however young, is safe from death; and that everyone, therefore, should be always prepared for it.
What is often the cause of early death among young persons?
1. Gluttony and intemperance; for by surfeiting and intemperance more perish than by the sword (Ecclus. xxxvii. 34).
3. Anger “If you bite and devour one another, take heed you be not consumed one of another” (Gal. v. 15). From angry words often come strife and blows, and not unfrequently murder itself.
4. Disobedience. We have dreadful examples to show that God has taken out of the world, early and suddenly, disobedient children; for instance, Absalom. Not without reason does God say to children “Honor thy father and mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, that thou mayest live a long time, and it may be well with thee in the land” (Deut. v. 16).
Certain it is that we shall die, but uncertain the hour of our death. Would that we might never forget this truth that we might earnestly think of it every day! How different our lives would then be! Have mercy, then, on thine own soul. Keep thyself in readiness so live that thou mayest have no reason to fear death. Do in thy lifetime what in the hour of death you will wish that you had done. Die daily, with St. Paul, by crucifying the flesh with its desires and lusts, and by voluntarily loosening thy heart from the world, its goods, and its vanities, before death does this for you by violence. In time of temptation and passion think of these truths and resist then to die will not be too hard.
Who is it that fears not death…
Whoever walks without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart; Who does not slander with his tongue, does no harm to a friend, never defames a neighbor; Who disdains the wicked, but honors those who fear the LORD; Who keeps an oath despite the cost, lends no money at interest, accepts no bribe against the innocent.
35 Promises of God cont.
“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”-Josh 1:9
· Battle for the Soul of America-Day 36
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after SUNSET ON SATURDAY till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.