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.
As Jesus 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.
Wanting the normal life that sight would allow him, the blind man at the Jericho gate begged for this gift, "Lord, that I may see!" But getting his sight back would involve new pressures, shifting his relationship to family and friends, responsibilities, his whole way, life. He was willing and eager to accept these challenges and take his chances. Once he received his sight, he began to follow Jesus, "giving glory to God," with a new focus to his life. He could now see his wife and children as treasured gifts. The shining sun, the palm trees clustered at the oasis, the birds gliding across the sky, even the bees in the desert between Jericho and Jerusalem, all this beautiful world was received in wonder as he followed Jesus along the way.
Our own conversion may not be as total or dramatic, but it is still very real and just as necessary. Perhaps we are like the people of Ephesus in the first reading. Like them, we may never have been truly bad people, as they are commended for their "patient endurance and strength." If such is the case, we may wonder, what more can God ask of us? Perhaps He may be addressing our conscience as he did theirs, "I hold this against you, that you have turned aside from your early love. Repent and return to your former deeds." Only we ourselves can know if these words are for us. We alone hold the memory of our early love, the ideals from which we may have fallen. These challenging words can be addressed to married people, to religious and priests, to lay apostolic ministers, to men and women in many secular or religious careers, "You have turned aside from your early love.. Repent, and return to your former ways."
Jesus was going into Jericho, intending to pass through on his way to Jerusalem. But he stopped, in response to the earnest cry of a blind beggar, 'Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.' Jesus' face was set towards Jerusalem, determined to reach the city that had a reputation for killing prophets. Yet, he wasn't so fixed on getting there that he was indifferent to whatever happened along the way. What happened on the way was as important to him as the destination. That is why he gave this blind man his full attention when others were rebuking him and telling him to keep quiet. Jesus always responded to the call of the present moment. He answered the man's heartfelt prayer of petition, 'Let me see again', and, as a result, his prayer of petition gave way to a prayer of praise which spread to all the people who saw what had happened. Jesus models for us the importance of responding to the call of the present moment. We can all be too focused on where we are going to the neglect of where we are. What we might be tempted to think of as interruptions can actually be where the Lord's call to us is to be found.