“So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.” (1 Maccabees 1:14-15)
In today’s first reading, we see how evil readily spreads in a society. A few people start doing evil, and gradually, they gather followers. They get the approval of the king (or leader), and evil becomes official. King Antiochus Epiphanes went as far as making a law prohibiting the Israelites from worshipping God. The temple was desecrated, and pagan idols were put inside the holy places of worship in Jerusalem and the surrounding cities of Judah. The people started burning the scrolls of the Law (Old Testament).
As it was in the days of King Antiochus, evil has become more popular today. The things considered taboo in times past are now the order of the day. Stealing, telling lies, thuggery, certificate forgery, etc., are now normal. If one belongs to the ruling party, they can escape any crime.
In this time, God seeks men and women of faith courageous enough to sacrifice their lives to establish righteousness. Many in Israel preferred to die than to be defiled by food or profane the covenant. Am I one of such persons? How can I show good examples and impart moral values within my environment?
If we are too afraid to die for what we believe, it is because we never believed in the first place. If you truly believe in God, you will see beyond earthly realities; you will see that there is life beyond the grave. In our Gospel passage, Jesus heals a man who, though physically blind, could see with faith. Faith is powerful; whatever you visualise, you bring to reality.
When the man inquired and was told it was Jesus, he visualised the restoration of his sight. He was convinced that Jesus could cure him, but he didn’t stop there; he added work – he shouted as loud as he could until he got Jesus’ attention. Jesus eventually told him, “Your faith has made you well.”
You can make this world a better place. Visualise it, believe it is possible, and work it out. Be ready to make whatever sacrifice is required. Your faith will bring you success.
_*Saint of the Day:*_ St. Edmund of East Anglia was born around 841, probably in Nuremberg, Germany. He became king of East Anglia at 14, crowned on Christmas Day 855 by Bishop Humbert of Elmham. Edmund was a model ruler, concerned with justice for his people and his spirituality; he spent a year sequestered at Hunstanton learning the Psalter by heart. Following a series of armed engagements with invading Danes, he was captured. He was ordered to give his Christian people to the pagan invaders, but he refused, and for this, he was beaten and shot with arrows at Hoxne, England, on 20 November 870.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, open my eyes to see evil for what it truly is and deepen my courage to stand up to good even if such may cost my life. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Mac 1:10-15,41-43,54-57,62-64, Ps. 119, Luke 18:35-43).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu