Monday of the Thirty-ThirdWeek in Ordinary Time
The reciprocity principle as of nowadays time
There sprang from these a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome. He became king in the year one hundred and thirty-seven of the kingdom of the Greeks. Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, each abandoning his particular customs … many Israelites were in favor of his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath … the king erected the horrible abomination upon the altar of holocausts, and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars. They also burnt incense at the doors of houses and in the streets. Any scrolls of the law which they found they tore up and burnt. But many in Israel were determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean; they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. Terrible affliction was upon Israel.»… 1Mc 1,10.41-43.54-56.62-64
The Maccabees, about whose it is spoken in the today reading, are the members of a Jewish family who led the uprising against the religious persecution of king Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria, descendant of a cadet branch of the family of Alexander Great the Macedon, who more than a century earlier occupied all the Minor Asia and founded an empire which reached up to the Indian Ocean. The king Antiochus, pursuing a policy of hellenization of the Palestine, ordered the suppression of the Jewish worship and the adoption of the pagan worship, which required also to sacrifice to the gods the pigs, which were considered unclean animals in the Jewish civilization. It is within this historical context that the Maccabees led the uprising against king Antiochus and “many Israelites were in favour of his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath”. It was a clash between different civilizations and religions which resembles the current commitment of the muslims to penetrate into our christian civilization with their uses and their traditions: construction of mosques, slaughtering of the meat according to the tradition of the Koran, exclusion of pork meat, cover the face of the women with a veil when they are in public. This policy of expansion is against our traditions and our laws, obtaining however many concessions which the church and our democratic mentality are willing to give. We do not want to enter into the merit of the justice, we only note that the “principle of reciprocity” is completely missing in the muslim civilization whereby, for each right which is claimed, it is necessary to be open to recognize the same to the others. When, some twenty years ago, I was in Saudi Arabia for the construction of a thermoelectric power plant, it was strictly forbidden to pray in public to us catholics, being exposed to a prison sentence. If you want to build a genuine and global partnership, it is needed to mutually recognize the same dignity and the same rights, otherwise – my father would say – we did not understand each other.