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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Maccabees 15, 25-41

Antiochus, meanwhile, from his positions on the outskirts of Dora, was continually throwing detachments against the town. He constructed siege-engines, and blockaded Trypho, preventing movement in or out.

Simon sent him two thousand picked men to support him in the fight, with silver and gold and plenty of equipment.

But Antiochus would not accept them; instead, he repudiated all his previous agreements with Simon and completely changed his attitude to him.

He sent him Athenobius, one of his Friends, to confer with him and say, 'You are now occupying Joppa and Gezer and the Citadel in Jerusalem, which are towns in my kingdom.

You have laid waste their territory and done immense harm to the country; and you have seized control of many places properly in my kingdom.

Either now surrender the towns you have taken and the taxes from the places you have seized outside the frontiers of Judaea,

or else pay me five hundred talents of silver in compensation for them and for the destruction you have done, and another five hundred talents for the taxes from the towns; otherwise we shall come and make war on you.'

When the King's Friend, Athenobius, reached Jerusalem and saw Simon's magnificence, his cabinet of gold and silver plate and the state he kept, he was dumbfounded. He delivered the king's message,

but Simon gave him this answer, 'We have not taken foreign territory or any alien property but have occupied our ancestral heritage, for some time unjustly wrested from us by our enemies;

now that we have a favourable opportunity, we are merely recovering our ancestral heritage.

As regards Joppa and Gezer, which you claim, these were towns that did great harm to our people and laid waste our country; we are prepared to give a hundred talents for them.' Without so much as a word in answer,

the envoy went back to the king in a rage and reported on Simon's answer and his magnificence, and on everything he had seen, at which the king fell into a fury.

Trypho now boarded a ship and escaped to Orthosia.

The king appointed Cendebaeus military governor of the coastal region and allotted him a force of infantry and cavalry.

He ordered him to deploy his men facing Judaea, and instructed him to rebuild Kedron and fortify its gates, and to make war on our people, while the king himself went in pursuit of Trypho.

Cendebaeus arrived at Jamnia and began to provoke our people forthwith, invading Judaea, taking prisoners, and massacring.

Having rebuilt Kedron, he stationed cavalry and troops there to make sorties and patrol the roads of Judaea, as the king had ordered.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The author continues the narration of Antiochus’ siege of Dor, which Simon took part in by sending a considerable amount of men and material. As an answer, the king sent Simon his envoy, Athenobius, to ask for the return of the sites conquered by the Jews, or at least for compensation: “Now then, hand over the cities that you have seized and the tribute money of the places that you have conquered outside the borders of Judea; or else pay me five hundred talents of silver for the destruction that you have caused and five hundred talents more for the tribute money of the cities. Otherwise we will come and make war on you” (30-31). Simon’s answer aimed at justifying the possession of the territories by identifying them as lands belonging to Israel and wrested by its enemies. In spite of the concrete necessities of the Seleucid policies, the Maccabees, like all the true Yahwists, had never granted possession of the holy land to foreign nations. Simon was available to pay a compensation, however, for Joppa and Gazara. The king was infuriated when his envoy returned with this response. Trypho in the meanwhile was able to escape the siege and reach the harbour of Orthosia, a fortified city on the Phoenician coast, north of Tripoli. While irritated by Simon’s answer, he was committed to hunt down Trypho, whom he finally found in Apamea, where he was captured and killed Antioch then called upon Cendebeus, an officer at court, to superintend the region on the Phoenician coast and make it his headquarters to attack the Jewish people. He therefore undertook to reorganise the area and strike attacks against the Jews: “So Cendebeus came to Jamnia and began to provoke the people and invade Judea and take the people captive and kill them. He built up Kedron and stationed horsemen and troops there, so that they might go out and make raids along the highways of Judea, as the king had ordered him” (40-41). The chapter ends abruptly, interrupting the narration, which continues in the following one. It seems increasingly clear, however, that the religious motivations for defending the people of Israel are softening, while a certain lust for power is penetrating among the ranks of the followers of the Maccabees and gradually prevailing.

Memory of the Church

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday