"Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy laws.” 2 MC 6: 27-28
As the liturgical year moves swiftly towards its end, the larger questions about faith begin to emerge. When faced with opposition, or even death itself as Eleazar was, are we ready to submit ourselves to God's will no matter the cost? Eleazar, when forced to eat pork, spit it out, and even when those in charge were will to secretly substitute beef because they respected him, Eleazar refuses, not wanting to risk scandalizing the young. Willing to be flogged and die for his beliefs, Eleazar becomes a martyr for his faith.
The willingness to make oneself totally vulnerable for the sake of the Good News is a necessary stage of the spiritual life, and while most of us will never have to face the radical test Eleazar encountered, standing up for Jesus' values is an essential aspect of living the Gospel. The Good News as Jesus revealed and lived it affirms that every person is an image of God, especially sinners and our enemies, and whenever we forget this teaching, we risk not living the Gospel at all. More important, allowing God to determine how we live the Gospel authentically demonstrates our total commitment to be Christ's child in the world, no one else's.
Today, take five minutes to assess your commitment to the fullness of the Gospel.
What Christian values most challenge you?