Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(II Maccabees 6:18-31; Luke 19:1-10)
We look to the aged for prudence. Experience has taught them not to delay something which must be done and to work diligently. We also expect faithfulness in our elders. They have learned the value of keeping commitments over the long haul. Generosity is another virtue associated with the silver years. Seniors have come to realize that giving has never made anyone poor. Today’s first reading celebrates old age with the story of Eleazar, a virtuous Jew.
Eleazar refuses to eat pork to save his life. He does not care that he will be tortured, much less that his das are ended. What matters to him is keeping faith in God who created him. Even when he is offered a ploy to avoid execution, he refuses. Eleazar understands that being part of a people makes one responsible for others. In this case he does not want to create scandal by giving bad example. He is particularly conscious of the young who might be led astray. They need to learn the nobility of the nation’s traditions.
We live in an age of individualism. People care mostly about themselves and the circle immediately around them. Too often the elderly lack a sense of intergenerational responsibility. We need them to act like heroes as Eleazar does. We need them to show us how not to live only for ourselves but for others. We need them to assure us that God’s ways will lead to glory.