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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Judas Maccabeus (Holy Warriors Part 56)

Today’s reading: 1 Maccabees 4:36-37,52-59

After the death of Mattathias, his son Judas, called Maccabeus, took up the leadership. Mattathias described Judas Maccabeus as “a mighty warrior from his youth” (1 Mc 2:66a). Judas went on to crush the enemies of Israel, and purified and rededicated the temple (v.36). He and his men fought for God and for their faith. They were holy warriors. “So the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion.” (v.37).

In one of the major battles, Judas “with a few men” fought the Syrian army that was with “a large company of renegades” (1 Mc 3:16,15). The numerical odds were against them, and they were also weakened by fasting. “How can we, few as we are, fight such a strong host as this? Besides, we are weak since we have not eaten today.” (1 Mc 3:17b). Judas replied: “victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from heaven.” (1 Mc 3:19). Judas crushed the enemy. Indeed, as he had told his soldiers, “He will crush them before us; so do not fear them.” (1 Mc 3:22).

Today we face overwhelming odds. Most of the political, economic, social and cultural powers are on the side of modernists and secular humanists, intent on wiping out our Judeo-Christian heritage and values. Even our Church is full of lapsed Catholics and the enemy within. But on our side is God! It is in fact God who sends us forth to do battle. So we must not be afraid. We fight, and God gives the victory.

Missionary Families of Christ is an army. It is evangelistic and missionary, and so engages in spiritual warfare. It strengthens families, and so is an object of attack by secular forces. It belongs to Christ, and so is hated as Jesus was hated by the world. The structure of MFC is that of an army. “Judas appointed officers for the people, over thousands, over hundreds, over fifties, and over tens.” (1 Mc 3:55). Do you see the similarity in our pastoral structure? Tens are a household of 5 couples, fifties are a unit of 5 households, hundreds make up a chapter of a number of units, thousands are all the chapters together.

We live today in a world of darkness and evil. The enemy forces are all around us, occupying the land that is God’s dominion. “Judas and his brothers saw that evils had multiplied and that armies were encamped within their territory.” (1 Mc 3:42). We too are called to fight. We are called to rebuild our Church and our societies. “So they said to one another, ‘Let us raise our people from their ruin and fight for them and for our sanctuary!’” (1 Mc 3:43). This too is what we must do.

We as holy warriors of MFC are called to give our all in this war. We will be severely tested. But we must fight. “Arm yourselves and be brave; in the morning be ready to fight these Gentiles who have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary. It is better for us to die in battle than to witness the evils befalling our nation and our sanctuary.” (1 Mc 3:58-59). We must not tolerate the evil that continues to grow in the land.

God called us, chose us, and now has renamed us. We are Missionary Families of Christ. This is God’s will, and it is God’s will that we rise in defense of faith, family and life. “Whatever is willed in heaven will be done.” (1 Mc 3:60).

Onward, holy warriors! Ho-wa!

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