Read 1 Maccabees 4:36-37,52-59, 1 Chronicles 29:10-12, Luke 19:45-48

“Then said Judas and his brothers, ‘Behold, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.’ So all the army assembled, and they went up to Mount Zion.” (1 Maccabees 4:36-37)

Anyone who sets out to fight for truth, righteousness and holiness always wins. The victory of Judas and his brothers over the evil king Antiochus assures us of God’s great hand of support when we fight for Him. “Who can battle with the Lord? Who can battle with the Lord? I say nobody. I say no-body.” The book of Proverbs 18:10 says: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run to it, and they are safe.”

When it comes to fighting, King David is one great example of a man who fought wars and defeated giants even from his very childhood. David revealed his secret in 2 Samuel 22:2-4 when he said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, refuge, and saviour – from violent men, you save me. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise. And I am saved from my enemies.”

However, we can only fight the enemy outside if we fight the enemy within. According to Sir Thomas Browne in his book “Religio Medici” written in 1639, “Every man is his own greatest enemy, and as it were his executioner.” The first battle we must fight is the battle within us: the battle against sin.

In our Gospel passage, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive those who had turned it into a market. The state of the temple directly reflected the state of the temples of their hearts. They had driven God out and replaced Him with money. The external cleansing became a reminder to them that their bodies were also temples and that they had abandoned God for too long. What efforts do I make daily to cleanse my heart and ensure that God remains at the centre of my life?

If you are not fired up like Eleazer, the seven brothers and their mother, Matatthaias, or Judas and his brothers or even like Jesus (who cleansed the temple), then there is something seriously wrong somewhere. Fight for morality, fight for truth, fight for justice, fight for the Christian faith.

Saint of the Day: The Martyrs of Vietnam. Between the arrival of the first Portuguese missionary in 1533, through the Dominicans and then the Jesuit missions of the 17th century, the politically inspired persecutions of the 19th century, and the communist-led terrors of the 20th, there have been many thousands of Catholics and other Christians murdered for their faith in Vietnam. Some were priests, some nuns or brothers, some lay people, and some were foreign missionaries, but most were native Vietnamese killed by their government and countrymen. In 1988, Pope John Paul II recognised over a hundred of them.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, set me on fire for you daily that I may not sit down and watch evil thrive. Cleanse me inside out. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saints Andrew Dũng-Lạc and his Companions, Martyrs. Bible Study: 1 Maccabees 4:36-37,52-59, 1 Chronicles 29:10-12, Luke 19:45-48).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu