2 Maccabees - Chapter 7
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1 It also happened that seven brothers were arrested with their mother. The king tried to force them to taste some pork, which the Law forbids, by torturing them with whips and scourges.
5 When he had been rendered completely helpless, the king gave orders for him to be brought, still breathing, to the fire and fried alive in a pan. As the smoke from the pan drifted about, his mother and the rest encouraged one another to die nobly, with such words as these,
7 When the first had left the world in this way, they brought the second forward to be tortured. After stripping the skin from his head, hair and all, they asked him, 'Will you eat some pork, before your body is tortured limb by limb?'
9 With his last breath he exclaimed, 'Cruel brute, you may discharge us from this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up, since we die for his laws, to live again for ever.'
11 courageously saying, 'Heaven gave me these limbs; for the sake of his laws I have no concern for them; from him I hope to receive them again.'
14 When he neared his end he cried, 'Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men's hands, yet relying on God's promise that we shall be raised up by him; whereas for you there can be no resurrection to new life.'
18 After him, they led out the sixth, and his dying words were these, 'Do not delude yourself: we are suffering like this through our own fault, having sinned against our own God; hence, appalling things have befallen us-
20 But the mother was especially admirable and worthy of honourable remembrance, for she watched the death of seven sons in the course of a single day, and bravely endured it because of her hopes in the Lord.
23 And hence, the Creator of the world, who made everyone and ordained the origin of all things, will in his mercy give you back breath and life, since for the sake of his laws you have no concern for yourselves.'
24 Antiochus thought he was being ridiculed, suspecting insult in the tone of her voice; and as the youngest was still alive he appealed to him not with mere words but with promises on oath to make him both rich and happy if he would abandon the traditions of his ancestors; he would make him his Friend and entrust him with public office.
25 The young man took no notice at all, and so the king then appealed to the mother, urging her to advise the youth to save his life.
27 Bending over him, she fooled the cruel tyrant with these words, uttered in their ancestral tongue, 'My son, have pity on me; I carried you nine months in my womb and suckled you three years, fed you and reared you to the age you are now, and provided for you.
28 I implore you, my child, look at the earth and sky and everything in them, and consider how God made them out of what did not exist, and that human beings come into being in the same way.
34 But you, unholy wretch and wickedest of villains, what cause have you for pride, nourishing vain hopes and raising your hand against his servants? -
35 for you have not yet escaped the judgement of God the almighty, the all-seeing.
37 I too, like my brothers, surrender my body and life for the laws of my ancestors, begging God quickly to take pity on our nation, and by trials and afflictions to bring you to confess that he alone is God,
42 But let this be sufficient account of the ritual meals and monstrous tortures.
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Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 40:5, 7-8, 8-9, 10
Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14
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