“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 Macc. 1:14-15).
In our first reading today, we see how evil readily spreads. First, you find some persons doing what is evil and soon they gather some followers and get the approval of the king. It got so bad that King Antiochus Epiphanes made a law prohibiting the Israelites from worshipping God. The temple was desecrated, 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.
When evil reigns, God seeks out men and women of courage that are not blinded by moral decadence in the society. Surely, there were some who refused to partake of such corruption, they stood their ground against evil and gladly suffered martyrdom. The story of the martyrs beautifully answers the question Jesus asked in Mark 8:36, “what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” In our Gospel passage, Jesus heals a man who though was physically blind was able to see with the eyes of faith. The moment he inquired and was told that it was Jesus, he was fully convinced that Jesus could cure him. He shouted as loud as he could to get Jesus’ attention. In the end, Jesus said to him: “Your faith has made you well.”
As it was in the days of King Antiochus so it is in our days. Evil has become more popular than good. Our churches too are not left out. Antichrists have arisen like wolves in sheep clothing deceiving many with false doctrines and making a mockery of the Christian faith. God is seeking men and women of great faith who are willing to stick out their necks and sacrifice their lives for sake of truth and righteousness. Am I one of such persons? Do I have faith enough to see that it is better to die for refusing evil than to compromise only to end up later in hell? Do I tell lies, steal, give or receive bribe? Within my sphere of influence, what efforts am I making to show good example and impart moral values among the young?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, 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 very life. Amen.
Bible Study: 1Macabees 1:10-64, Psalm 119 and Luke 18:35-43).