MONDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands:
“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
When we read the warning in the reading in Revelation about the church in Ephesus, it is written that they had abandoned the love they had at first.
It is interesting that the people surrounding the blind man in the Gospel reading had no love. They were telling the man to be quiet when he called out to Jesus. Here was a poor blind man with no one to help him, suddenly hopeful that Jesus was drawing near. All he had was his voice to cry out in every direction so he might be heard. Yet the able-bodied people did not help him. The man cried for mercy but the crowd tried to hinder him.
We can all get off track like the church of Ephesus and the people in the crowd. After we have labored with patient endurance, while seeing the working of evildoers and false disciples and heretics, we can forget the love that we had when we began our ministry. The antidote for that, as for all our failings, is repentance.
As wonderful as it must have been to see the blind man receive his sight, the more wonderful thing was seeing how the people who tried to silence the blind man, turned and praised God for his healing. They were blind to their lack of love but were suddenly grateful and happy to see God's mercy demonstrated in their midst.
Do I work hard for the Kingdom of God, hating what is evil and discerning unrighteous? Is my zeal for righteousness causing me to forget the Spirit of love? Do I need to change course so that my lampstand burns more brightly?
Today, let us ask for the Holy Spirit to give us the mind of Christ who desires to heal us and who listens to us when we cry out from our hearts for mercy.