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The Everyday Prayer


 
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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Maccabees 5, 55-68

While Judas and Jonathan were in Gilead and Simon his brother in Galilee outside Ptolemais,

Joseph son of Zechariah, and Azariah, who were in command of the army, heard of their valiant deeds and of the battles they had been fighting,

and said, 'Let us make a name for ourselves too and go and fight the nations around us.'

So they issued orders to the men under their command and marched on Jamnia.

Gorgias and his men came out of the town and gave battle.

Joseph and Azariah were routed and pursued as far as the frontiers of Judaea. That day about two thousand Israelites lost their lives.

Our people thus met with a great reverse, because they had not listened to Judas and his brothers, thinking that they would do something equally valiant.

They were not, however, of the same breed of men as those to whom the deliverance of Israel was entrusted.

The noble Judas and his brothers, however, were held in high honour throughout Israel and among all the nations wherever their name was heard,

and people thronged round to acclaim them.

Judas marched out with his brothers to fight the Edomites in the country towards the south; he stormed Hebron and its dependent villages, threw down its fortifications and burned down its encircling towers.

Leaving there, he made for the country of the Philistines and passed through Marisa.

Among the fallen in that day's fighting were some priests who sought to prove their courage there by joining in the battle, a foolhardy venture.

Judas next turned on Azotus, which belonged to the Philistines; he overthrew their altars, burned the statues of their gods and, having pillaged their towns, withdrew to Judaea.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Before leaving with his brothers for the various expeditions, Judas assigned two lieutenants, Joseph and Azariah, to maintain order in Judea and to defend it against possible attacks, “but do not engage in battle against the Gentiles until we return” (v. 19). Eager to be protagonists, they disobeyed the order received: “So they said, ‘Let us also make a name for ourselves; let us go and make war on the Gentiles around us.’” (v. 57). And they attacked the Syrian troops of the Philistine. The desire to be protagonists, along with disobedience, cost them and the Jews a bitter defeat, as noted in the text: they were defeated “because, thinking to do a brave deed, they did not listen to Judas and his brothers” (v. 61). It was a bitter lesson, but also a clear one: salvation does not depend on one’s own qualities, but upon the Lord and obedience to whom the Lord entrusts the task of leading his people. In this case, the position of Judas and what he asked the two lieutenants was clear. This is the meaning of the sentence that ends this bitter episode: “But they did not belong to the family of those men through whom deliverance was given to Israel” (v. 62). Just after the festival of Pentecost, Judas and his brothers, now full of glory, went back toward Idumea, where they pillaged two major cities: Hebron, an ancient city known for the story of Abraham and David, who made it the capital of his kingdom, and Marisa, an ancient Canaanite city that was under the Edomites in the Hellenistic period. Judas defeated both the Edomites, “the sons of Esau,” and the priests who tried to resist him. The victorious march of Judas still continued towards Azotus, the Philistine city on the coast halfway between Jaffa and Gaza, famous for its temple to Dagon (1 Sam 5-6). The destruction of the altars emphasizes once again the purely religious character of the Maccabean revolt aimed precisely to restore the true worship and to extend it elsewhere.


10/25/2013
Memory of Jesus crucified


Calendar of the week
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday
DEC
5
Monday, 5 December
Prayer for the Sick
DEC
6
Tuesday, 6 December
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
DEC
7
Wednesday, 7 December
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
DEC
8
Thursday, 8 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
DEC
9
Friday, 9 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
10
Saturday, 10 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
11
Sunday, 11 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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