November 20, 2017
But many in Israel were determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean; they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. 1_Mc_1:10-63
As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, Lk_18:35-43
Obedience, usually, can do two things for us. It can keep us out of trouble, and sometimes it can actually bring us reward as well. And yet obedience also requires a certain amount of discernment.
A child might be ordered by his parents to stay in to do his homework. While at the same time he might be ordered by an older sibling to go out and play ball. Playing ball would be fun compared to doing homework. But not doing homework might get the child in worse trouble with his parents and his teachers than not playing ball.
So he has to discern which order he should be obedient to. If he chooses wisely, even though the disappointment of his older brother might hurt him in the short-run, his obedience to his parent’s and his teacher’s orders, would, in the long-run, bring him the greater reward. It’s not always an easy decision for a kid.
As adults we’re called to make this kind of discernment every day. And sometimes, like the child in our example, those decisions can be pretty tough.
Today we hear two examples of obedience decisions. The blind man in the Gospel, knew in his heart that Jesus had the ability to heal him. He also knew that it would take some courage, and a loud voice, to get the attention of Jesus. And yet, there was that other order: “To be quiet!”
Did he follow his gut instinct, knowing that this might be a once in a lifetime chance to be healed? Or did he obediently, quiet himself down?
You know, sometimes obedience to our faith takes quite a bit of courage. And sometimes, we might even get a little mud in our faces. But the reward for following God’s orders will always outweigh the alternatives. And for the blind man, gaining his sight was a good example of being rewarded for the right choice.
Then, on the other hand, all week we will hear the stories of a different kind of obedience in our Readings from the Book of Maccabees. Here, it wasn’t the parents, nor the teachers who were in the right. Here it was the older brother . . .
Because the authorities, the wicked King Antiochus Epiphanes and the world, who seemed to be following him, were making orders that were plainly set against the Orders of God.
And the faithful Jews, who refused to follow the Kings’ orders, for obedience to God instead, were suffering and dying for their right choice.
Sometimes obedience just doesn’t come easy, brothers and sisters. It didn’t for Jesus. And it doesn’t for us!
But the Reward is well worth it!
And the strength to make those tough choices comes from our prayers for one another and our Love for our God.
Today, let’s make a point to keep each other in prayer and never forget the strength that the Holy Spirit will give us as we obediently follow the Light of Jesus.
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