today's other readings are Psalm 50 and Lk. 19: 41-44
In today's reading we encounter a word that is often found in the Bible but is rarely used these days - zeal.
A common definition of zeal is this - great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.
A person who is zealous exhibits great energy and enthusiasm for their cause, willing to undergo great suffering and persecution to promote what he/she believes in. This was certainly exhibited in the great missionaries of the Church, people such as St. Francis Xavier and the Canadian Martyrs.
In today's first reading we hear of the zeal of Mattathias, who spots a fellow Jew attempting to offer sacrifice to the false gods. Mattathias is so enraged that he kills him, then kills the king's officer and tears down the altar dedicated to idols. He, his family and other followers then flee to the hill country where they then prepare for their great rebellion against their Greek overlords.
In no way would I ever advocate killing others to promote our faith, but I do think today's reading requires us to consider - how zealous are we about our faith? How zealous are we for our God?