1 Maccabees 2: 15-29 “…’Although all the Gentiles in the king’s realm obey him, so that each forsakes the religion of his fathers and consents to the king’s orders, yet I and my sons and my kin will keep to the covenant of our fathers’…”
Psalm 50: 1b-2, 5-6, 14-15 “…’Offer to God praise and your sacrifice and fulfill your vows to the Most High; Then call upon me in time of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.’…”
Luke 19: 41-44 “…’For the days are coming upon you…They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.’…”
St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207 – 1231), came from Hungarian royalty, married young, had three children, but lost her husband early on. Her heart was strongly attached to the needs of the poor. After her husband died in the Crusades, she joined the Secular Franciscan Order and continued her work with the poor the rest of her short life.
So the good guy, Mattathias, “filled with zeal” kills a fellow Jew in today’s reading in Maccabees, because the man is about to follow the ruling pagan king’s orders to denounce the LORD and offer a sacrifice to the pagan gods instead. Right there I thought, Greaaatttt! But, reading back in Maccabees you see the long takeover effort that destroyed property and people; the aggressors having torn the people down are now trying to take away their Faith too. Mattathias, being coaxed to walk away as well, says he won’t comply. Why do people do this to others I wonder? Why can’t we let people follow the path to their Faith for wherever that path leads them? Mattathias is forced to move again, this time to the mountains. He calls other righteous people to follow him out of the city. After reading back in the book, I had a little more sympathy for Mattathias and his reactions, but I was still grateful for the message in the Psalm reading.
Psalm 50 seemed to be a perfect match for our first reading, in fact the rest of this Psalm was good as well. From verse, 6, in Psalm 50 we hear: “The heavens proclaim divine justice, for God alone is the judge.” God invites us to praise him, fulfill our vows and then “call upon me in time of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15)
The Gospel reading is brief; it follows Jesus’ entering Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey. He's received the praise and recognition worthy of his Kingship. But, today he knows not all the people have heard his word, and instead he will be put to death in this great city. So he weeps when he sees Jerusalem because the people “did not recognize the time of your visitation.” He weeps because even though they have seen, they do not believe, and he says they do not know what makes for peace. A lesson those of us who do believe in Him and have read His teachings still don’t follow all that well. The thought of Jesus weeping is very moving to me. I think about how little His coming means to people today.
Lord, help us to take the Gospel messages to heart so that we can know the peace, “that is hidden from your/(our) eyes.” Thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you today. Amen