The story conveyed in our first reading from the second book of Maccabees is one that resonates up and down the ages, that still stirs our hearts today. It’s the story of a martyr’s death. We can talk about heaven, we can speculate about it, we can write learned treatises about it, and we can hope for it. But up and down the centuries, it is the martyrs—from the ancient Maccabees to the Christians slain by ISIS—that most vividly witness to the promise of heaven. They literally bet their lives on it.
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