Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin. Saint Paul in today’s first reading is talking about meat sacrificed to idols. So concerned about the potential to lead someone away from Jesus, he makes this statement about not eating meat. He is not eating meat sacrificed to idols. But he is always concerned about helping strengthen relationships with Jesus. I have never thought much about the effect of my actions on others. Do my actions serve as a hindrance to the faith life of others, keeping them from getting to know and love Jesus? Or does my witness lead them to a deeper relationship with Jesus?
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?