Scripture: 1st Reading: 1Maccabees1:10-15,41-43,54-57,62-64; Resp. Psalm: Ps119:53,61,134,150,155,158; Gosp. Accl.: Jn8,12; Lk18,35-43
The life of any human society lies in grave danger when ungodly men are entrusted with power and given the authority to rule and preside over human affairs. This is because they can only be known by their fruits. They will only manifest that which they are and keep the company of the ungodless that they have always been used to. Such men introduce rules, customs and practises that run contrary to the established ones and if the community has had any religious affiliations, they do all within their power to water down and destroy those same practises, persecute those who follow them and destroy all the visible signs that can lead to any remembrance of them.
This is the evil that ungodly men can perpetrate when godly people fail to act in the choice of people for leadership. This was the case when the chosen people were led astray by their ungodly and lawless leaders to form alliance with the Greeks. Their reason for this was that many evils had come upon them since they separated from these pagan nations.
The point here is fundamental and it touches the core of Israel as a nation: Israel had made a covenant with Yahweh. In that covenant, Yahweh promised to be Israel's God, Father, protector, ruler, guide and guard. No evil was ever to befall the people if the people kept faith with their covenant obligations.
To decide to make another covenant with a godless, idol worshipping nation was to negate the original covenant with Yahweh. The Greeks did not just negate Israel's covenant with Yahweh but the equally destroyed their customs and their national identity, built gymnasium in Jerusalem, erected a desolating sacrilege upon the altar of burnt offering, tore and burnt the book of the law and condemned to death anyone who was found in possession of the book of the covenant.
The people were blind as a result of their sins. They allowed people who lived in the darkness of sin to lead them a blind alley. They paid dearly for it. Many, though, stood against these terrible and sinful pagan practises but they were in the minority. The vast majority were blinded by their sins. This was the situation Our Lord came to put an end to when He came into this world. He came to heal the blindness of the people as occasioned by sin.
The healing of the blind man in today's gospel was not just the restoration of his physical sight but more importantly that of spiritual sight. Even though they rebuked him to be silent, he cried out all the more till his cries caught the attention of our Lord. At his request, "Lord, let me receive my sight", our Lord said to him, "receive your sight; your faith has made you well." To demonstrate that his inner sight had been restored as well, the word today tells us that "immediately he received his sight and followed Him, glorifying God". In other words, he became a disciple of Jesus.
When a people or community is led by people who have inner sight and place premium on godliness, such a community cannot but prosper. A community led by godless people always ends up in disaster sooner or later. As believers, we need to ask the Lord to restore and renew our inner sights daily. We cannot please God if we do not have it.
Let us pray: God our Father, we thank you for the power of your word. Give us the courage to install godly people to lead our communities. Open our eyes to the dangers that choosing ungodly people to lead can cause. Give convinced believers the courage to offer themselves for service of your people within our various communities, so that a positive difference could be made in the lives of your people. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.