I came across an article a few weeks ago that proposed one way to understand generational divides in the Church in this way. It was a question of two values: identity and inclusion. For young people who are active in the Church, it is important to have “identity markers” to help them to understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. For others, it is important to welcome the lost and broken into the Church and to include them. Today’s first reading and gospel show us how to do both.
The first reading from this week comes from one of the books of the Maccabees. Just who were they? And how does the time they lived relate to the time of Jesus, and to our time today? This new podcast seeks to go behind the reading to give context to help us to understand better what we hear at Mass.
The time a couple of centuries before Jesus was an interesting one. There was a lot of political fighting, war, and religious fighting. It was a time when some sought to blend in, becoming like the culture around them. Others sought to defend their religious freedom. Still others sought to impose their ways of belief on others by killing them. It was a time that became perfect for the arrival of Jesus on the earth. Why? Because it became a time where the power of personal witness invited people to a more powerful relationship with God. Jesus did not force others to believe in him. It was the authentic witness of faith that inspired others to believe in him. This personal relationship of trust in God was one which led to total surrender, even at the cost of death. What is your witness? How do you help people to see in the way you live your life the invitation to believe in Jesus?