Today’s reading doesn’t deliver anything brilliantly profound, but rather a simple message/analogy on living lives true to ourselves and to God.
The reading from Maccabees describes the story of Eleazar, a scribe who was of old age that lived in a time of turmoil. He was to forced eat the flesh of a pig — the forbidden meat for Israelites and was prescribed by the corrupted king at the time. When they would force him to open his mouth to consume the unlawful meat, he spat it out. The people in charge that worked for the king pulled him aside privately, and gave him the permission to bring his own meat that he could legitimately eat, only pretending to ingest the forbidden pork so that he could escape the death and even be treated kindly. In a noble manner, he rejected the offer and declared to stay loyal to the laws given by God. He made it known that in accepting that offer would be false and that he’d be a phony. Instead of putting upon himself any shame or dishonor, he proved himself of worthy age and gave himself as an example to the young as a man who stayed loyal to the law and died willingly revering them.
This kind of a hostile environment is one of which we rarely see today but can certainly relate it to, let’s say — a college campus. Living the Catholic faith out loud is very difficult, and being vocal about it or living by example can become trials in our day to day lives. Disdain, mockery, opposition to the Catholic faith are only a few of what may happen to us when we decide to live our lives in full loyalty and abandonment to God. And not being true to ourselves or honest about our faith would be a foolish thing. It’s sad to see and hear all over the place about how most people think that the faith is solely a religion, when in reality, it’s a way of life. It’s my way of life.
Live your faith out vibrantly. Pray for the courage to do so. Every day, remind yourself: “THIS is what I believe, THIS is what I live for”. I know living this life for God isn’t easy with all those trials mentioned above and more, but loving it makes it a whole lot easier when you keep in mind The Heavenly Banquet! No way am I turning back! Way too legit to quit. :)
“I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging, but also suffering it with joy in my soul because of my devotion to Him.” – Eleazar