Monday – Thirty-third Week – OT2

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Monday – Thirty-third Week – OT2

Readings: Rev 1:1-4, 2:1-5; Lk 18:35-43.  

Reading 1 (Rev 1:1-4, 2:1-5):

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him,
to show his servants what must happen soon.
He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
who gives witness to the word of God
and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud
and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message
and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.

John, to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you and peace
from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne.

I heard the Lord saying to me:
“To the angel of the Church in Ephesus, write this:

“‘The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand
and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this:
“I know your works, your labor, and your endurance,
and that you cannot tolerate the wicked;
you have tested those who call themselves Apostles but are not,
and discovered that they are impostors.
Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name,
and you have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you:
you have lost the love you had at first.
Realize how far you have fallen.
Repent, and do the works you did at first.
Otherwise, I will come to you
and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”‘”

Gospel (Lk 18:35-43):

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,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh M. Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: Remember our first love and live according to it.

            Love is the most important element in the human life because it is the force that helps people to live and to work. If there is no longer love, people will be wearied and lose all motivation for living and working. The enemies of love are time, tiredsomness and changes of life. For example, the spousal love. After the fall of South Vietnam in April 30, 1975, many Vietnamese family are broken up because their lacking of love. The reason for this is because the husband escaped from the country, leaving his wife and children behind. After a while, the husband or the wife started to have an extra-marital affair because when “people are out of sight, they are also out of mind.” When they reunified in a third country, they no longer had love for each other and decided to go on separated ways. The similar thing happens in human relationship with God. People get tired of going to a Mass and praying, they turn their back to God and their face to worldly allurements because they can’t wait for His promise of the future bliss. In order to avoid these temptation, people need to nourish their love and to often revive their first love for God and others. They must also repect each other as a Vietnamese adage advises, “to treat each other as the first time we met.”

            Today readings gave two examples: one is the people’s tiredsomeness after they followed God a while and one is the eager man who followed Jesus the first time. In the first reading, the author of Revelation reported God’s word for the faithful in Ephesus. Though they were persevered in faith but they lost their first love, “Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first.” In the Gospel, the blind man from Jericho eagerly followed Jesus after he was healed by him.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Christ’s revelation to the faithful in Ephesus

            The Book of Revelation doesn’t only pay attention on the Last Day as many people think, but also to the recognition of wrong doings to correct and to live better before the Last Day’s coming as the author stated in to day passage, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.” There are few things which people need to understand before they can fathom the author’ intentions.

            (1) The Book of Revelation is Christ’s revelation: God sent His angel to John to tell him about this revelation. John witnessed and wrote what he saw for people to know it.

            (2) The meaning of the number seven in the Book: Number seven happened 54 times in the Book; this is the number which represents for the completion and perfection. For example, when Christ sent his seven letters to the seven churches, this means he sent them to all the churches in the world, not only to the faithful at that local church.

            (3) The locations of the seven churches in Asia Minor belong to the modern Turkey. Ephesus was a well-known commercial city of Asia Minor. It was also the center of many cultures and religions of the world. This position of Ephesus opened ways for many supertitions and idols worshipping; the most popular god of this city is Artemis (Acts 19:8, 10), who is the daughter of Leto and Zeus, and the twin of Apollo. Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility. She was often depicted with the crescent of the moon above her forehead and was sometimes identified with Selene, the goddess of the moon.

            (4) St. Paul established the church in Ephesus about 53-56 A.D. (Acts 19:8-10). The seven stars stand for the seven angels who protect the seven churches, and the seven lampstands for the seven churches (Rev 1:20). The one who walked between the seven lampstands is Christ as he promised that he shall “be with the Church all the days until the Last Day” (Cf. Mt 18:20, 28:20).

           

1.1/ His praises for the Ephesians: “I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and discovered that they are impostors. Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name, and you have not grown weary.” The Ephesians were loyal to the protection, the announcing and the witnessing of the truth. The mentioned event probably related to Nicolaitans (Cf. Rev 2:6, 15).

1.2/ His rebuke for the Ephesians: “Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first.” Without love, faithfulness is threatened and easily led to unfaithfulness; with love, faithfulness is increased and protects people from separation. The three things in the repenting process are mentioned are: examination of conscience, “Realize how far you have fallen,” “Repent,” and compensation for sins, “Do the works you did at first.” The threatened words,

“Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” mean the possibility of destruction of Ephesus could happen if they refuse to repent.

2/ Gospel: Jesus healed the blind of Jericho city.

2.1/ The blind’s persisted petition: There is a Vietnamese idiom, “If you had an eye sore, you will have compassion for the blind.” Without sight, all beauties of the world are darkness to the blind, and the only job he could do to support himself is to beg for people’s compassion along the sidewalks. He is blind, but not deaf; when he has heard the crowd’s footsteps, he asked other to tell him what was happening. Some let him know it was Jesus who was passing by. He certainly heard something about Jesus’ power of healings so he took advantage of the opportunity and cried out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

           And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. They didn’t understand his suffering; all were busy with their own thinking or calculations. Those who rebuked him might be angry because they couldn’t clearly hear what Jesus was teaching. But the blind cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” The reason why he loudly cried out might be because he feared that Jesus didn’t hear his voice; but also to express his persisted petition, there is nothing can prevent his confidence in God. With his disease, he might think this is his once in a life time to meet Jesus and to be healed by him.

2.2/ The reactions of Jesus, the blind and the crowd: Why doesn’t God have compassion on His child’s persisted petition! Jesus stopped, and commanded him 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 receive my sight.” The blind didn’t ask for anything except his sight because he knew the importance of it. Jesus told him: “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God.” The blind knew Jesus had compassion and he was the only person who could heal him. He was healed by Jesus so the fact that he followed him to praise God is the natural thing to do. All the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                 

            – Life with so many worldly allurements and enjoyments sometimes makes our heart becoming a weary and stony one, so we are no longer sensitive with God’s love. We need to revive the first love we have for God by constantly reflecting what God has done for us to love, to praise and to live a worthy life of His love. We also need to update our knowledge of God because we can’t love the one whom we know nothing about him. The more we know about God the more it shall help to improve our relationship with him.

            – We also need to revive out first love or encountering with others so that we always respect and love each other. 

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