“Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God’s mercy I may get you back again with your brothers” (2 Maccabees 7:29).
Yesterday, we read about how Eleazer the scribe was killed for his refusal to condescend to idol worship even when he was given an option to pretend about it. Today we are presented with another gory account of persecution under the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. Seven brothers and their mother were arrested for their refusal to partake in idol worship. One after another, they were killed before their own mother. When six of them were gone, Antiochus moved by shame at the courage of the boys decided to lure the youngest of them with riches and political power.
The craze for riches has become the bane of our youths today. Listen to our popular music; it is all about making billions (wanting to hammer), spending it on women, (money fall on you, cassava fall on you), driving the latest cars, buying houses for mama, and so on. Many of our Christian youths have sold their souls to the devil. Cultism is so rampant today. Their mantra is: “get rich or die trying.”
Not too long ago, a lady who partook of the Big Brother Show was evicted. Nigerian billionaires (our own King Antiochus Epiphanes) who will never spend a kobo to lift a hungry child out of poverty were donating millions like it was child’s play. They were splashing millions on her to say “Thank You” for her indecent behaviours, exultation of immorality, corruption of children and lack of shame on television. She even got more money than the winner of the show. We need to understand that exactly what happened in the time of Maccabees is happening again in our day.
When the king saw that the young man was not going to bow to his offer of riches, he turned to his mother hoping she would convince him better. The king was right, no child can say No to his mother (Not even Jesus Christ). What the king failed to realize was that this mother brought up her children to fear God. To say that parents do not have a role in the moral decadence of our youths today is to tell a black lie. An apple never falls far from its tree.
The mother turned to the boy and spoke to him in her native language saying: “Do not be afraid of this butcher. Do not disgrace your brothers. Accept death.” With this great boost from the mother, the youngest son said to the king: “What are you waiting for? Go ahead. You can kill me but I will not obey you.” As a mother, would you be able to advise your children like this? Would you teach them not to steal or would you share in their loot? Would you encourage your children to dress modestly or would you clap for them for being slay queens? Would you teach your children to be content with what is theirs or would you teach them to sell their bodies for money? Would you discipline them thoroughly or would you fight with their teacher for flogging them in school?
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus told a parable to those who were expecting the kingdom of God to come immediately. For many even in Jesus’ time, the coming of God’s kingdom would mark the end of the world. Through this parable, Jesus teaches us that the world is sure to end, but in the meantime, God has deposited great treasures in us. We cannot sit down idle (bury our talents) in the name of waiting for the end like some Thessalonians did. We must get busy using all that God has deposited in us to spread God’s kingdom here on earth. We shall be judged on how we used our gifts and abilities on the last day.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love you above all things on earth. Free me from the lure of riches especially if it requires compromising my faith. Amen.
Bible Study: 2 Maccabees 7:1-31, Psalm 17 And Luke 19:11-28).