The pagan empires that sought to bring destruction to the lives of the people constantly tested the Jewish faith. The Seleucids took over the Roman Empire and sought to establish their reign with pagan gods and rituals. The book of Maccabees is an inspiring account of the early Jewish martyrs who sought favor from the Lord in the midst of horrific trials.
In the first reading, we read an amazing account of a mother’s exhortation to her sons during the trial of the King. The woman speaks to her sons reminding them of their ancestors and the faith they put in the Lord. The King summons her to influence her son to obey his will, a promising future. The woman does not give way to the King will but instead calls her son to obey the will of the Creator, the One who in his mercy gives life and breath. In the face of death, the young son does not shrink from his faith in the Lord. With firm resolve before the King and his mother obeys the commands of the law given though Moses.
The character of the mother is very inspiring. She is noble in her speech towards her son, offering words of encouragement. She edifies them in their faith by speaking the truth in love. She is a prefigurement of that most noble mother, Mary, who stands by us offering words of hope.
We are to be encouraged by the presence of the mother at the hour of the death of her sons. She exhorts them to live as they have died-in faithful obedience to the law of God, by which we are all to be judged at the last day. Mary also supports us in our faith despite the hurling accusations of the evil one. Beautifully illustrated in the story, is the heart of a mother. Let us have recourse to our Mother Mary who will be with us to the very end. She assists us in our life; she will not abandon us at the hour of death.

Mediate on the words of exhortation of the mother in the first reading

I call upon you, Lord, for you will answer me. Amen