2 Mac 6:18-31 / Lk 19:1-10
Out of every tragedy and every evil, God eventually brings a greater good, though sometimes that good remains hidden and invisible for a long time. Often, in the midst of suffering, it’s difficult to understand or believe, but it is true. And from time to time we can see it happening. That’s what we have in today’s reading from the book of Maccabees: Good coming out of evil.
Eleazar, a ninety-year-old scholar of great dignity and preeminence, was confronted with the subtlest of all temptations, the opportunity to save his life by pretending to abandon his faith, while not really doing so at all. It was the perfect out: He could continue to enjoy his old age, while keeping his hands clean of any formal violations of God’s law. Just pretend, for a few minutes! That was all.
But Eleazar refused, for he knew that he still had one gift left to give, a gift that was sorely needed, and that was the example of an old man, whose faithfulness could inspire the young to take heart and not betray what was best in them. Eleazar refused the seductive offer and was put to death amidst great agony. And the young men took heart and remained true.
Because Eleazar listened to God’s voice within him, God brought forth good out of evil through him. God wants to do the same through and with you: Bring good out of evil. Are you listening to Him? Are you placing yourself entirely at His service? Some lives will be forever different if you do.