In our first reading today as we continue to read the story of the Maccabean Revolt. We hear the story of Eleazar, who died rather than violate his faith.
The story tells us today that:
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately, because of their long acquaintance with him, and urged him to bring meat of his own providing, such as he could legitimately eat, and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice prescribed by the king; in this way he would escape the death penalty, and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
They gave him an out. It would have been easy for him to pretend to be going along. He would not have actually needed to violate the law. And he could have saved his life. But he refused. Why?
Because he knew that his example could have lead others to sin. Others would not have known that he was pretending. He was willing to sacrifice himself in order to avoid even the possibility of leading others to sin.
This story seems a stark reminder to us that we are called not only to love others we love ourselves, but to go the extra mile and put others ahead of ourselves, willingness to sacrifice ourselves, our needs, our wants, our resources, not just for out friends and family but for all others.