If you are following the Bible in a Year reading plan I suggested, its time to move onto II Maccabees.
If you've been struggling a little with 1 Maccabees and its endless battles, you might find this a little easier going, as even though it overlaps in historical content, it is rather more explicitly theological in approach. This book was probably actually written before 1 Maccabees, and covers the same historical period, of the revolt against the Seleucids, as it.
Why Luther excluded Maccabees from the Protestant Bible...
II Maccabees is particularly important from a Christian perspective in emphasising the value of suffering and martyrdom, its firm belief in the resurrection of the dead, and particularly in its articulation of the links between the Church Militant, Suffering and Triumphant.
The text points out that the living can help the dead by their prayers and sacrifices, and that the saints in heaven can intercede for the living.
Key sections to dip into include:
- Chapter 1, especially verses 23-27 (used at the Lent Ember Saturday Mass);
- Chapters 6-7, on the positive value of suffering;
- Chapter 12, on how the living can help the dead through their prayers and sacrifices;
- Chapter 15, on the intercession of the saints in heaven.
Aim to finish it by the 21st....