Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are shown that those who are faithful in God and those who have endured persecution for that faith will be rewarded greatly and wonderfully by the Lord. In the first reading, from the Book of the Revelations or Apocalypse of St. John the Evangelist, in the vision of the end of times which he received from the Lord at the island of Patmos, it was written about the Lord commending the Church in Ephesus, for their perseverance in faith.
In that revelation, the Lord sent His messages, praise and also warning to the faithful in the various principal Churches of the early Christianity. The Church in Ephesus had persevered amidst the difficulties and persecutions they had to endure, but yet they also have lapsed in some aspects of their faith, and they had not been completely faithful to the Lord, and the Lord wanted to remind them that fact.
In the Gospel is the story of how Jesus healed the blind man from his affliction, enabling him to see once again. In that story, we hear how the blind man knew that Jesus was coming towards him, and he asked humbly and with great persistence, calling Him as the Son of David. This is significant, consider that he could not even see, but yet he knew that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of David, and the One who would bring mankind to salvation.
Why is this so, brothers and sisters? In another occasion, when Jesus also healed another blind man, He mentioned how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who opposed and criticised Jesus in His every actions by their hypocrisy and strict observance on the Law, were truly blind even though they physically could see with their eyes.
The blind man on the contrary, can truly and perfectly see, even though he may appear to be blind. That is because, ultimately, our true eyes lie in our hearts. The eye of our hearts is the one that truly sees all around us and also at the same time, show who we are inside of us. If our eyes on our head that can see visually all things around us, fail to see truth, then it is useless.
The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, they were not able to look at the truth or face the truth, that the One whom they have opposed all that time, was the One who had been promised by God to be their salvation. Yes, Jesus came to this world out of the love of God, to save all mankind, even those who hated and rejected Him. He came into this world to dispel the darkness that veiled men’s hearts, the true eyes of theirs, so that they can see once again.
The blind man recognised the light of Christ from within his heart, as even though he was unable to see, but the presence of Christ is known to him. The eyes of his heart can see clearly amidst the darkness. Meanwhile, the jealousy, pride and arrogance of the Pharisees had clouded and blinded their eyes, closing the doors of their hearts from the possibility of them accepting Jesus as their Lord.
Therefore, it is a call to all of us, so that we may abandon and reject all forms of wickedness and evil from our lives, that we do not follow the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law to their doom. Those people were not able to recognise the Lord and accept Him because of their jealousy and hatred for Him, seeing Him as a great rival to their worldly power and influence. They have seen much in world, and the temptations and seductions of Satan swayed their heart over, and they were corrupted.
The blind man, who was not able to see for many, many years, if not the whole of his life, was pure and innocent, for he was not able to see the tempting things in the world, and therefore, he was able to recognise God when He came. This means that our eyes that see many things around us, are the gateways to our hearts. And if they are corrupted, our hearts inside us too will likely to be corrupted as well.
Therefore, we have to be careful in our actions, and we have to discern well everything that we are to say or do. Let our eyes not corrupt us and resist the temptations of pride, of greed, of anger, of jealousy and of any other negativities with which the devil is trying to subvert us against the Lord. Let us break through the veil of darkness which covers our hearts, that from there, we may be like the blind man, who sincerely and genuinely seek the Lord, knowing that He is there.
Yes, our loving God is always there for us, and it only takes us to ask Him, and seek Him with all of our hearts, for us to gain His graces. Remember what He told His disciples? Ask and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you? Therefore, let us all ask God for His grace, that we may recognise Him and His presence in our lives, and through our interactions with those around us.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today is also the feast of a holy woman, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, whose life can be a great inspiration to all of us. St. Elizabeth of Hungary was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary during the High Middle Ages. She was of the royal blood and of very high social class, betrothed and married to the family of another ruler, and yet in all of her actions, she was very devout and charitable.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary was the patroness of many religious works, evangelisation and mission efforts, and especially, the patroness of many charitable organisations. She donated much money and funds to help the poor, and occasionally also took part in directly helping the poor themselves. She was widowed later on, and after her widowhood, she devoted herself completely to the Lord.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary donated whatever she had in her possession to charity and for the sake of the poor. She also devoted herself as a religious nun, and gave her all to God from then onwards, just as she had devoted herself earlier on through her actions. This is an example we can and indeed should follow, as with love and charity, our faith will be strong, and a strong faith will help us to keep our vision straight and clear, avoiding and resisting all the temptations and false promises of the evil one.
May Almighty God, who gave us the grace and blessing in St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a holy woman and a person of charity and love, a person of true faith and devotion, help us to also be able to walk in her path, that all of us will have our faith in Him strengthened and at the end of time, we will be found righteous and be worthy of the glories of heaven. God bless us all. Amen.
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