2nd book of Maccabees
Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes, a man of advanced age and noble appearance, was
being forced to open his mouth to eat pork.
preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement, he spat out the meat, and went forward of his
own accord to the instrument of torture,
as men ought
to do who have the courage to reject the food which it is unlawful to taste even for love of
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took
the man aside privately, because of their long acquaintance with him, and urged him to bring meat of
his own providing, such as he could legitimately eat, and to pretend to be eating some of the meat
of the sacrifice prescribed by the king;
in this way he
would escape the death penalty, and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with
But he made up his mind in a noble manner, worthy
of his years, the dignity of his advanced age, the merited distinction of his gray hair, and of the
admirable life he had lived from childhood; and so he declared that above all he would be loyal to
the holy laws given by God. He told them to send him at once to the abode of the dead,
"At our age it would be unbecoming to make
such a pretense; many young men would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar had gone over to an alien
Should I thus dissimulate for the sake of a
brief moment of life, they would be led astray by me, while I would bring shame and dishonor on my
Even if, for the time being, I avoid the
punishment of men, I shall never, whether alive or dead, escape the hands of the
Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now,
I will prove myself worthy of my old age,
and I will
leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy
laws." He spoke thus, and went immediately to the instrument of torture.
Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed, now became hostile
toward him because what he had said seemed to them utter madness.
When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned and said: "The Lord in his holy
knowledge knows full well that, although I could have escaped death, I am not only enduring terrible
pain in my body from this scourging, but also suffering it with joy in my soul because of my
devotion to him."
This is how he died, leaving in his
death a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the
How many are my foes, LORD! How many
rise against me!
How many say of me, "God will not save
that one." Selah
But you, LORD, are a shield around me;
my glory, you keep my head high.
Whenever I cried out
to the LORD, I was answered from the holy mountain. Selah
Whenever I lay down and slept, the LORD
preserved me to rise again.
I do not fear, then,
thousands of people arrayed against me on every side.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ
according to Saint Luke 19:1-10.
He came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also
a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he
could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who
was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place,
Jesus looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your
And he came down quickly and received him with
When they all saw this, they began to grumble,
saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner."
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I
shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times
And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come
to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."