1 Maccabees - Chapter 3
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3 He extended the fame of his people. Like a giant, he put on the breastplate and buckled on his war harness; he engaged in battle after battle, protecting the ranks with his sword.
14 Seron, commander of the Syrian troops, said, 'I shall make a name for myself and gain honour in the kingdom if I fight Judas and those supporters of his who are so contemptuous of the king's orders.'
17 But as soon as these saw the force advancing to meet them, they said to Judas, 'How can we, few as we are, engage such overwhelming numbers? We are exhausted as it is, not having had anything to eat today.'
22 and he will crush them before our eyes; do not be afraid of them.'
29 He then found that the money in his coffers had run short and that the tribute of the province had decreased, as a result of the dissension and disaster brought on the country by his own abrogation of laws that had been in force from antiquity.
30 He began to fear that, as had happened more than once, he would not have enough to cover the expenses and the lavish bounties he had previously been accustomed to make on a larger scale than his predecessors on the throne.
33 making him responsible for the education of his son Antiochus, until he should come back.
35 against whom he was to send a force, to crush and destroy the power of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem, to wipe out their very memory from the place,
37 The king took the remaining half of his troops with him and set out from Antioch, the capital of his kingdom, in the year 147; he crossed the River Euphrates and made his way through the Upper Provinces.
40 The entire force set out and reached the neighbourhood of Emmaus in the lowlands, where they pitched camp.
41 The local merchants, hearing the news of this, arrived at the camp, bringing with them a large amount of gold and silver, and fetters as well, proposing to buy the Israelites as slaves; they were accompanied by a company from Idumaea and the Philistine country.
42 Judas and his brothers saw that the situation was going from bad to worse and that armies were camping in their territory; they were also well aware that the king had ordered the people's total destruction.
44 The Assembly was summoned, to prepare for war, to offer prayer and to implore compassion and mercy.
45 Jerusalem was as empty as a desert, none of her children to go in and out. The sanctuary was trodden underfoot, men of an alien race held the Citadel, which had become a lodging for gentiles. There was no more rejoicing for Jacob, the flute and lyre were mute.
46 After mustering, they made their way to Mizpah, opposite Jerusalem, since Mizpah was traditionally a place of prayer for Israel.
47 That day they fasted and put on sackcloth, covering their heads with ashes and tearing their garments.
48 For the guidance that the gentiles would have sought from the images of their false gods, they opened the Book of the Law.
49 They also brought out the priestly vestments, with first-fruits and tithes, and marshalled the Nazirites who had completed the period of their vow.
56 Those who were in the middle of building a house, or were about to be married, or were planting a vineyard, or were afraid, he told to go home again, as the Law allowed.
57 The column then marched off and took up a position south of Emmaus.
58 'Stand to your arms,' Judas told them, 'acquit yourselves bravely, in the morning be ready to fight these gentiles massed against us to destroy us and our sanctuary.
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Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34
Gospel, Matthew 11:20-24
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