"He was filled with zeal; his heart was moved and his just fury was aroused." —1 Maccabees 2:24
Jesus "wept over" Jerusalem (Lk 19:41). "Just look at the fruit of this sorrow" (2 Cor 7:11). "What a measure of holy zeal!" (2 Cor 7:11) Jesus' tears fell like sparks igniting a fire on the earth (see Lk 12:49). Jesus' sorrow did not lead to depression. Rather, His sorrow motivated Him to run to Jerusalem and die on the cross to take away the sins of every person.
Mattathias was grieved at the sins of God's people (see 1 Mc 2:14). His godly sorrow resulted in zeal (1 Mc 2:24). Mattathias refused to apostatize. He began a revolution against the Seleucid empire and "fled to the mountains with his sons, leaving behind in the city all their possessions" (1 Mc 2:28).
Nehemiah wept over Jerusalem (Neh 1:4). In his sorrow, he prayed and asked King Artaxerxes for the means to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Neh 2:5ff). His request was granted, and Nehemiah did one of the greatest works in salvation history. Zeal for the city of God's house consumed Nehemiah (see Ps 69:10; Jn 2:17).
I hope you are weeping over our culture of death. I pray that your sorrow will be godly and thereby motivate you to be zealous for the Lord. May your sorrow and zeal renew the face of the earth in the year 2000, the Great Jubilee.
Prayer: Father, give me a deep contrition.
Promise: "We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree." —1 Mc 2:22
Praise: St. Paul personally dedicated himself to destroy the Christians of the church of Jerusalem (see Acts 26:9-11). After his conversion, he spent many years making restitution to the Jerusalem Christians, traveling thousands of miles to take up a collection to relieve their hunger from famine (see 1 Cor 16:1-4).
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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