“Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother, who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.” —2 Maccabees 7:20
The Seleucids who persecuted the Jewish people at the time of the Maccabean revolt were terrorists. They did not just kill seven Jewish brothers but scalped, dismembered, and fried them one by one, while forcing the remaining brothers and their mother to watch every brutal act. The Seleucids planned that the mother’s anguish would be used to manipulate her sons into becoming traitors to their faith or that they would at least break the spirit of the mother and the Jewish nation by their terrorism.
However, the terrorists’ psychological warfare backfired on them. The mother’s relationship with the Lord and with her sons was so strong that she did not crack under pressure. She strengthened her sons to die heroic deaths, and she followed them in martyrdom. Her faith and her family’s faith was so strong that it defeated the terrorists.
Contrary to what many believe, terrorism is not defeated by military might. Because terrorism is demonic, it cannot be defeated by merely human means. It can be defeated only by faith in Jesus, especially by holy families of faith (see Mt 17:20-21). Therefore, we must become holy faith-filled disciples of Jesus, or we will be helpless, intimidated, manipulated victims of terrorists.
Jesus is the only name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). Have faith in Jesus, our only Hope.
Prayer: Father, I reject the spirit of fear and accept the Holy Spirit (see 2 Tm 1:6-7; Rm 8:15).
Promise: ” ‘Good man!’ He replied. ‘You showed yourself capable in a small matter. For that you can take over ten villages!’ ” —Lk 19:17
Praise: St. Cecilia and her converts, her husband Valerian and brother-in-law Tiburtius, were martyred for their faith in Jesus.
[ 354 – 430 A.D. ]
on Psalm 32
Sing to him a new song, sing to him with joyful melody. Every one of us tries to discover how to sing to God. You must sing to him, but you must sing well. He does not want your voice to come harshly to his ears, so sing well, brothers!Praise the Lord with the lyre, make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song. Rid yourself of what is old and worn out, for you know a new song. A new man, a new covenant; a new song. This new song does not belong to the old man. Only the new man learns it: the man restored from his fallen condition through the grace of God, and now sharing in the new covenant, that is, the kingdom of heaven. To it all our love now aspires and sings a new song. Let us sing a new song not with our lips but with our lives.
If you were asked, “Sing to please this musician,” you would not like to do so without having taken some instruction in music, because you would not like to offend an expert in the art. An untrained listener does not notice the faults a musician would point out to you. Who, then, will offer to sing well for God, the great artist whose discrimination is faultless, whose attention is on the minutest detail, whose ear nothing escapes? When will you be able to offer him a perfect performance that you will in no way displease such a supremely discerning listener?
See how he himself provides you with a way of singing. Do not search for words, as if you could find a lyric which would give God pleasure. Sing to him “with songs of joy.” This is singing well to God, just singing with songs of joy.
But how is this done? You must first understand that words cannot express the things that are sung by the heart. Take the case of people singing while harvesting in the fields or in the vineyards or when any other strenuous work is in progress. Although they begin by giving expression to their happiness in sung words, yet shortly there is a change. As if so happy that words can no longer express what they feel, they discard the restricting syllables. They burst out into a simple sound of joy, of jubilation. Such a cry of joy is a sound signifying that the heart is bringing to birth what it cannot utter in words.
Now, who is more worthy of such a cry of jubilation than God himself, whom all words fail to describe? If words will not serve, and yet you must not remain silent, what else can you do but cry out for joy? Your heart must rejoice beyond words, soaring into an immensity of gladness, unrestrained by syllabic bonds. Sing to him with jubilation.
“Today salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham.” —Luke 19:9
When salvation came to Zacchaeus and his house, Zacchaeus was moved to say: “I give half my belongings, Lord, to the poor” (Lk 19:8). This expression of salvation has been common throughout Church history. Jesus loved and challenged a man by saying to him: “There is one thing more you must do. Go and sell what you have and give to the poor; you will then have treasure in heaven. After that, come and follow Me” (Mk 10:21). Peter said to Jesus: “We have put aside everything to follow you!” (Mk 10:28) In the early Church, “all who owned property or houses sold them and donated the proceeds” (Acts 4:34) to the extent that Ananias and Sapphira felt compelled to lie about giving the Church all the proceeds from property which they sold (Acts 5:1ff). When we give our lives to Christ, all is new (2 Cor 5:17), and “money is no object.”
Christianity is the most radical decision possible for a human being. To follow the crucified Savior is to lose our lives (Lk 9:24) and be “delivered from the futile way of life” handed on to us by our materialistic culture (1 Pt 1:18). Let us be converted as Zacchaeus was converted. Let us be crucified with Christ (Gal 2:19). Let us love as Jesus loves.
Prayer: Father, may I repent by Your standards.
Promise: “This is how he died, leaving in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation.” —2 Mc 6:31
Praise: Mary, Our Lady of Presentation, played an integral part in opening the eyes of the disciples by asking Jesus to perform His first miracle. Because of this miracle at the wedding in Cana, “His disciples believed in Him” (Jn 2:11).