This weekend’s first reading is both one of the most heroic and one of the most tragic passages in all of the Old Testament. It tells the tale of seven brothers who were all willing to die, rather than forsake their faith.
They weren’t killed at the same time. No. It was worse than that. It happened one by one. Each seeing the torture of those proceeding them. Still, they refused.
For what would you willingly die? For your spouse? Your children? Parents? What about your Faith?
God forbid, a disturbed person puts a gun to your head and gives you the option. “Tell me you don’t believe in the Eucharist. Tell me you don’t believe in papal succession. Tell me you don’t believe Mary was anything special. And tell me Jesus was nothing more than a good man. Tell me these things, and you will live.”
Would you deny your Faith, justifying your betrayal by saying Peter did the same and Jesus forgave him? Would you claim the ends (your ability to fight another day) justified the means (denying Jesus and his Church)?
Or would you be willing to stand up for your Faith despite certain death like the brothers in the first reading? Would you be willing to allow your blood to mingle with the martyrs? Would the testimony of your faithfulness feed the belief of generations – not for your reputation and glory, but the Lord’s?
My great fear is that this world has few people willing to die.
My greater fear is that if the moment found me, I wouldn’t be willing. I pray this isn’t so.
My heart longs to have the bravery, courage, and conviction of the brothers. So today, I ask you to join me in prayer that if the day finds us, we may stand strong. But more than that…
May we be as strong as the brothers in the small deaths we face daily as sons and daughters of God. And may we endure those deaths not for our own glory, but so that the renown of the one we serve may continue to spread.BACK TO LIST