Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s reading, we begin the discourse from the Book of the Maccabees, in which we heard how the king of the Seleucid Empire, king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, persecuted the Jewish people living in his territory, as the Holy Land was then under Seleucid rule, and he also tried to enforce the Greek customs upon the Jewish people.
The suffering and dilemma faced by the Israelites at the time was truly great, as they were forced to choose between obeying God’s Law and suffer to the point of death, or to abandon the customs of their ancestors and the Law of God and live, receiving great honours and favours from the king and his court. Many of the Jewish people at the time were unable to resist the temptation to avoid suffering, and they abandoned their faith.
The Greek king even led his forces to capture the Temple of God in Jerusalem, desecrating it and built pagan idols within its compounds. Many were forced to worship those pagan idols and abandon their old faith to God. And such were the Jewish people scandalised by the great sins committed by the king, yet, there were many of those who resisted and persevered through the difficult times.
And the ones who led them in resistance were the namesake of this book, the Maccabees family, led by their father, Mattathias, who refused firmly against the king’s order to abandon their faith in God. Led by his sons, the people of Judea would rise up against the king, and through the help and grace of God, through many difficult years, persecutions and further troubles, they succeeded and triumphed against their enemies.
In the Gospel passage today, the Lord healed a man who was blind, who begged Him many times as He passed through near his place, that He might want to heal him from his blindness. He kept on trying and shouted begging for Jesus to have mercy on him, despite many people around him who told him to shut up.
Jesus had mercy on the man, and with His compassionate love, He healed the blind man from his affliction. In this we can see, as we relate it to the first reading, the story of the Maccabees rebellion, that God never abandoned His people. He is always ever faithful, even though we have often been unfaithful to Him. He always loved us no matter what.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, there will be plenty of times when we will feel that we are alone against the world, and that no one is around to help us, and not even God. That is why we give up on God, give up on everything, on our faith and all else, and give up to the demands of the world, much as how many of the Jewish people gave up to the demands of king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who demanded that they abandon their God.
Let us remember what we have heard this day, and keep in our minds and our hearts at all times, that we are always beloved by God, no matter what. He is always around for us, and He will guide us and help us according to His will. Sometimes, yes, we did have to suffer for a time, but if we remain faithful, our reward in God will be great.
Shall we strive to look for eternal joy that we can find in God alone, and not in the temporary and illusory false joy that this world offers? Let us remain true to our faith, and commit ourselves, our whole lives to God, by doing what He has asked us to do in our loves. May the Lord be with us always, for we are all His beloved children, those whom He will bless and protect at all times, against all evils. Amen.