In today’s first reading from Revelation 1:1-4,2:1-5 we hear Jesus’ message to the Church (diocese) in Ephesus. Jesus praises them for the faithfulness they showed in the past, but he then criticizes them:
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.
This is a powerful warning to us to persevere in our faith. Are you still pursuing Jesus as the desire of your heart?
Psalm 1:1-6 describes how following God rather than the “counsel of the wicked” leads us to peace and fulfillment. Pay attention to how the metaphor for the righteous man show perseverance. The righteous man meditates on the Law of the Lord day and night. He is like a tree rooted by the river (grace) bearing fruit each season. These are all images of commitment and consistency. The wicked are the opposite – blown by the wind this way and that. This imagery may also portray the eventual fate of the righteous man and the evil man, but they also show the necessity of perseverance.
In today’s Gospel from Luke 18:35-43, a blind man begs Jesus for help. He is rebuked by Jesus’ disciples. I wonder if this was because there was an assumption that the man’s blindness was a result of sin or disfavor with God. If so, it must have surprised Jesus’ followers all the more when Jesus told the blind man, “your faith has healed you.” Often in ancient literature, blindness is either a metaphor or a juxtaposition for spiritual sight – the ability to see the truth. This man was blind, but he called Jesus “Son of David.” He saw when others did not that Jesus was the promised Messiah. After Jesus healed him, the man follows Jesus and praises God, showing that his spiritual sight was strengthened all the more with the restoration of his physical sight.
Also published on Medium.