"He declared that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God." —2 Maccabees 6:23
Eleazar was ninety years old when he was physically beaten to death for refusing to deny his faith (2 Mc 6:30). He had lived an "admirable life" from his childhood (2 Mc 6:23), and he left "in his death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation" (2 Mc 6:31). Eleazar lived and died uncompromised and faithful.
Zacchaeus had sold out to the Roman empire to become "the chief tax collector and a wealthy man" (Lk 19:2). He, like all tax collectors at the time, was despised by his fellow Jews for compromising his principles and collaborating with Rome, the enemy of the Jewish people (see Mt 18:17). Zacchaeus had been anything but faithful. However, he repented, and salvation came to his house in the person of Jesus, the Savior (Lk 19:9).
If you are like Eleazar and have never betrayed or denied Christ, thank the Lord for His grace by which you have been faithful and have refused to compromise your faith. But if you are like Zacchaeus, repent and accept the Lord's mercy. By His grace, be faithful to Him from this moment on.
Prayer: Father, give me the courage to not compromise my faith in You.
Promise: "The Son of Man has come to search out and save what was lost." —Lk 19:10
Praise: St. Gertrude, a mystic, was blessed with a special communication with God and profound experiences of ecstasy and suffering. She had the spiritual gift of moving people's hearts and getting them to think of nothing but God.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 10, 1999
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 16, 1999
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