In the Gospel reading today from Luke 18, Jesus is on his way to Jericho when a blind man on the side of the road shouts out, “Son of David, have pity on me!” The crowd around tries to silence him, but he shouts all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Jesus orders his disciples to bring the man to him, and Jesus restores his sight.
In the first reading today from 1 Maccabees 1, we read about how the children of Israel began to incorporate the ways of the Gentiles among whom they lived into their own lives. Now, this may not sound like so much of a big deal, but it was. Because instead of adopting any good practices of the Gentiles, they began to worship idols and profane the sabbath; they fell away from their religion, and from God. Eventually there was a great persecution of those who remained steadfast to God’s commands. Many were killed because “they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant.”
God’s people were willing to go along to get along. Sound familiar? It sure does to me. It seemed to be a pattern with the Israelites. And it seems to be happening today right in front of our very eyes. So many Catholics today have been sucked in by the culture. We see polls showing that a majority of Catholics are pro-choice. An even greater majority believes in homosexual marriage. Most Catholics don’t believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. Moral relativism has run amock in the Church. And many of these people are in positions of great influence, in the highest offices of our government. We are even seeing the beginnings of a new persecution of those who adhere to God’s laws, the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Hang on, my friend. Just as it was with the faithful people we see in today’s first reading, it is going to be a bumpy ride for those who remain faithful to the teachings of the Church in our day and age. And just as God rewarded His faithful then, He will do so today. Keep the faith!
Father, help us to hold fast to the teachings of your Church, even in the face of persecution. May our steadfastness be rewarded through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.