Scripture: 1st Reading: 1Maccabees2,15-29; Resp. Psalm: Ps50,1-2,5-6,14-15; Gosp. Accl.: Ps95,7-8; Gospel: Lk19,41-44
Apostasy is to engage in acts that deny one's allegiance to God; to act in ways that negate God's overall dominion over one's life; to engage in pagan practises that completely contradict one's expressed and professed faith in God. Apostasy is therefore denial of God through acts that suggest that one has a allegiance to a different supernatural power. Apostasy is to reject God by someone who had formerly accepted Him. Apostasy is to fall away from faith in the living and true God.
The seleucid king knew that one way to subjugate Israel was to compromise and pollute the faith of the people in the living God. They knew that they held no chance if the people were still committed to Yahweh. They knew the people's hearts and souls could not serve two masters. They decided to use the eating of pork and offering of sacrifice to idols as the litmus test to determine those who would remain faithful to Yahweh and risk death.
The officers of the king did not just use force to beat the people into submission. They offered them mouth watering inducements. They made them promises of riches, positions, wealth and privileges. They promised them the special friendship of the king. They set the king up as an alternative to the Living and true God. They introduced new abominations and called for the people's obedience to them. They induced the people to abandon the faith of their fathers and the covenant they freely made with Yahweh.
When these came to the city of Modeling to do as the king bade, Mattathias who was equally induced and made promises, decided to remain with the Living and true God. Burning with zeal for the law of Yahweh, he killed the Jew who offered sacrifice and the king's servants and started the rebellion of the Jews against their oppressors. They abandoned all they had in the city and fled to the hills. They became hunted men. Such was the price to pay for remaining faithful to the living and true God.
Our Lord today wept over the city of Jerusalem because of its infidelity to the love of Yahweh, its first Lover. The city abandoned the things that made for peace with Yahweh. The city blinded itself from the reality of Yahweh's presence. The people did not recognize and discern the time of Yahweh's visitation. For this, our Lord predicted the desolation, destruction and sackage of Jerusalem by its enemies. The city would be made to go through all these as a recompense for its infidelities.
The word today lays heavy stress on allegiance to Yahweh. The word stresses fidelity to the living and true God. Mattathias and his sons rebelled against the imposed apostasy. They stood for God and for His glory and the enthronement of God's reign in the hearts and souls of his people. We are challenged by their faithfulness to God. We are encouraged to follow their noble example. We are called by the word to recognize our time of visitation.
Let us pray: O God our heavenly Father, we thank and praise you for the example of fidelity your Son gave to us by His life. Give us grace to follow Him daily by rejecting everything that negates His dominion over our lives. Give us courage to serve you faithfully till the end of our lives. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.