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Thursday, November 20, 1997

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1 Maccabees 2:15-29
Psalm 50
Luke 19:41-44

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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 life-style (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:  Belinda, a home-schooling mother who raises her children to be disciples of Jesus, is considered fanatical by her extended family. However, Jesus uses the shining light of her faith-filled teenage children to help change their hearts.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 22, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 26, 1997