“Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers … Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself… While she was still speaking, the young man said, ‘What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king’s command…’” (2 Maccabees 7:24-30)
Today we are presented with the 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. 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.
Somehow, history is repeating itself in our day except that not many are willing to do what this young man did. Just as King Antiochus sought to persuade the boy with riches, many young men and women today have sold their souls to the devil following the mantra: “get rich or die trying.”
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. Using her native language, she told the boy: “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.”
The question is: “How many mothers (and fathers) would offer such advice to their children today?” In fact, it is quite shocking to realize that some parents even encourage their children directly or indirectly to go into crime, immorality, and other forms of evil contrary to the Christian faith for the sake of riches. Some Christian parents know their children are not employed but they are quiet when they see them with expensive clothes, cars, jewelry, and so on. This is a pity.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus told a parable to those who were expecting the kingdom of God to come immediately. Through this parable, Jesus teaches us that the world is sure to end, but in the meantime, we cannot sit idle (bury our talents).
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 7:1,20-31, Ps. 17:1,5-6,8,15, Luke 19:11-28).