Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

“On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-five, the king erected the horrible abomination upon the altar of burnt offerings” (1 Macc 1:54).  Notice the detail in this verse around the date, but the lack of detail, both here and in adjacent verses, around the “horrible abomination.”  What exactly was the horrible abomination?  Scripture is vague on this point.

At the time of the Maccabees, Pre-Christian pagans had overrun Israel, and many Jews began to lapse from Judaism into some form of polytheism.  In order to better fit in with the world around them, some decided to adapt pagan customs, thereby rejecting the God of Israel and His covenant.  The real low point was that some sort of “horrible abomination” was set up in the temple in Jerusalem, even upon the altar of burnt offerings.  Why doesn’t scripture detail exactly what that “horrible abomination” was?

Rejecting evil, it seems to me, is an important part of choosing good.  This is why in the rite of baptism, the candidates are asked if they reject Satan.  Now, rejecting Satan is not the same thing as ignoring Satan.  Far from it.  But it does mean refusing to spend all day sitting at his feet, listening attentively as he tells you his stories of evil in detail.

Give the Devil his due, but don’t give him the last word, or the first word, or even the majority of the words.  Marginalize him.  Keep Jesus Christ and his goodness front and center.

November 20th, 2017