1 Mc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63 / Lk 18:35-43
We have the beginnings of a great tragedy in today’s reading from the book of Maccabees. The Greeks had decided to impose their own language and culture on the various parts of their empire. And that meant zero tolerance for the religion of all conquered peoples, including the Jews. The temple at Jerusalem was converted into a gymnasium, and all Jewish religious observances were forbidden under pain of death.
It was decision time for the Jews, young and old, and many of them forgot what it was that made them special, what made them who they were: It was their conscious connection to the Lord. Hoping to win acceptance and advancement from those who held power, many of the Jews turned their backs on their connection to the Lord. And in doing so they lost their identity and lost their way.
It’s a temptation that presents itself in every age, if not in so dramatic a way. We face it now, the temptation to give in to a culture that in so many ways has considerable appeal, but is simultaneously seriously flawed. It’s hard not to fall victim to its subtle allures and distorted values without even noticing we’ve done so. Only one thing can prevent that from happening, and that is serious time spent with the Lord every day.
Take that time every day. Let Him help you remember who you are and what really matters. Let Him give you the energy to be faithful and true.