the cost of faithfulness
"Mattathias answered in a loud voice...'We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree.' " —1 Maccabees 2:19, 22
Mattathias would not be manipulated or intimidated into compromising his faith. He refused to be a hypocrite and a phony. He refused to be lukewarm and sickening to God (Rv 3:16). For Mattathias to be uncompromised and faithful, he had to flee "to the mountains with his sons, leaving behind in the city all their possessions" (1 Mc 2:28).
We are much like Mattathias. We live in a "culture of death." We live in a post-Christian, anti-Christian era. In this culture, faithfulness is not cheap. To be faithful, not phony, we will have to make great sacrifices. Like Mattathias, we may need to leave behind our possessions and have the courage to live a radically different lifestyle (The Gospel of Life, 98, Pope John Paul II). To be faithful to the Lord in our "culture of death," we will have to reject the cults of individualism and independence, and choose Christian community and submission to the Lord and His Church. To be hot for Jesus and not lukewarm, we will need to deny our very selves and our selfishness to take up the cross each day (Lk 9:23).
Are you going to be faithful or phony? Will you accept God's grace to pay the price of faithfulness?
Prayer: Father, teach us "the path to peace this day" so we will recognize the time of our visitation (Lk 19:42, 44).
Promise: "Many who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom went out into the desert to settle there." —1 Mc 2:29
Praise: St. Elizabeth served rather than dominated her people by dressing simply and feeding hundreds who were hungry.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Hold Fast to the Faith on audio AV 71-1 or video V-71.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Bishop-Elect, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 26, 2011 (for 10-1-2011 through 11-29-2011) and May 26, 2011 (for 11-30-2011)
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