A Time to Resist

Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss. Peter & Paul, Apostles

1 Maccabees 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63; Luke 18:35-43

We are nearing the end of the church year. The themes of our scripture readings are darker. They recall times when the people of God were persecuted and their faith was tested.

The Books of the Maccabees were written 100-200 years before the time of Jesus. Since the time of the Babylonian Exile, the land of Palestine and the people of Israel were under occupation by a series of empires. Antiochus Epiphanes IV was a ruler installed by the Greeks. In order to unify and strengthen their empire, the Greeks demanded that everyone in their empire adopt their language, customs, and religion.

Many accepted this. Some, however, refused. They could not turn away from their Covenant with God.

We are fortunate to live in a nation that respects diversity—but not always. We live in a nation that is also afflicted with many forms of discrimination. Some groups promote integration. Others promote assimilation. Others demand homogenization. Sometimes we face the pressures of materialism, secularism, and consumerism.

The followers of Judas Maccabees violently revolted against their worldly rulers. We don’t need to do that. But sometimes we need to resist. In every age, in every culture, in every nation, the people of God are called to choose between conformity to the ways of the world and fidelity to the will and the laws of God. We pray for the courage and be faithful to God and the gospel of Jesus. –jc