16 Monday Saint Margaret of Scotland (opt. Memorial); Saint Gertrude, virgin (opt. Memorial)
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.
Happy indeed is the one
who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
nor lingers in the way of sinners
nor sits in the company of scorners,
but whose delight is the law of the Lord
and who ponders his law day and night. (R./)
He is like a tree that is planted beside the flowing waters,
that yields its fruit in due season
and whose leaves shall never fade;
and all that he does shall prosper. (R./)
Not so are the wicked, not so!
For they like winnowed chaff
shall be driven away by the wind.
For the Lord guards the way of the just
but the way of the wicked leads to doom. (R./)
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.
Hoping that sight could be restored to allow him live a normal life , the blind man at the Jericho gate called out in prayer, "Son of David, have mercy on me!!" If he somehow could get his sight back he knew it would change things for him and he would again have to work for his living, but he seemed eager to face whatever new horizons might open up for him. When Jesus asked him to state his request, he said simply, "Lord, let me see again!" and once he regained his sight, he began to follow Jesus, with a new focus to his life. He could now see his wife and children and his neighbours, all of whom thanked God for the healing miracle.
Our own vision may be excellent, even without Specsavers, but we too can benefit from a version of the blind man's prayer, "Lord, let me see your will more clearly. Help me to follow you along the road."
Perhaps we may need some kind of conversion, like the Christians in Ephesus who were gently reproached by Our Lord, "You have turned aside from your early love. Repent and return to your former deeds." By examining our conscience we can discern whether this call to conversion applies to us too. Those murmured words may revive the memory of some early ideals, now discarded, to which we should return. This awakening of conscience can be welcomed by married people, by religious and priests, by men and women in all walks of life, "You have turned aside from your early love.. Repent, and return to your former ways."
Jesus was intending to pass through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. But on hearing his name called out by a blind beggar, 'Jesus, son of David, have pity on me,' he stopped and gave him his full attention.
Our Lord might be on a journey, but he was never indifferent to those he met along the way. They were just as important to him as his destination. That is why he gave this blind man his full attention when others were telling him to be quiet. He answered the man's heartfelt wishes, 'Let me see again', and, as a result, a wave of of praise and prayer spread to all the people who witnessed it.
The story models for us the value of responding to the call of the present moment. Let's not be so fixated on our destination as to ignore where we are. What we might first seem like interruptions can actually be where we can do a worthwhile service in the name of the Lord.