33rd Week in Ord. Time, Tuesday – 21st November 2023 – 2 Macc 6,18-31; Lk 19,1-10
The first reading presents the heroism of Eleazar, an aged Jewish scribe and most respected by his contemporaries. As a man of dignity and integrity, he is willing to die rather than defile himself by eating meat forbidden by the law of God. When it comes down to making a choice of adhering to the law or going along with his friends, he chooses to be faithful to his relationship with God. He would not have been able to live with himself if he had followed his friends’ advice. He prefers to obey his conscience and stand firm in being faithful. He does not want to give a false impression to anyone, especially to the youth. He is willing to be flogged to death and would never escape from his accountability to God. Obviously, Eleazar gave the ultimate sign of martyrdom by his commitment to God rather than pleasing his oppressors. In embracing his death, he left a striking example of nobility and goodness not only for the young, but for the greater part of the nation. His martyrdom and heroism are not upheld because of his bravery in the face of death, but of his integrity, his refusal to compromise on vital issues.