Advent meditation: While under the rule of the Greeks, the Israelite priests joined the pagan king to perform idolatry in the temple. Therefore, God raised up Judas Maccabeus to fight for the freedom of the Jews. This revolution was successful, and the Jews reconsecrated the temple to purge it of idolatry. However, in later generations, the Maccabees appointed themselves as priests and kings, rather than the lines of Aaron and David established by God. Even after all that had happened, when the Jews had freedom, they still would not do what God asked of them. This was to make clear that no man could do what was right, and only the God-man Jesus Christ could bring us back to Eden.

Prayer: Righteous Judas Maccabeus, intercede for all those fighting evil in the world.

Scripture: Then said Judas and his brothers, “Behold, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.” So all the army assembled and they went up to Mount Zion. And they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. Then they rent their clothes, and mourned with great lamentation, and sprinkled themselves with ashes. They fell face down on the ground, and sounded the signal on the trumpets, and cried out to Heaven. He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. Then they took unhewn stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken. Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering which they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. (1 Mac 4:36-40, 42, 47-55)

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