17th November. Monday of Week 33.

 Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious.

Elizabeth or Erzsébet (1207-1231) was a princess of Hungary, but moved to Thüringen, Germany, where she married Landgrave Louis IV at the age of 14, and was widowed at 20. After her husband’s death she devoted herself to serving the poor and built a hospital where she tended the sick. After her death at the age of 24 she became a symbol of Christian charity and was soon canonized.

First Reading: Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5

Encouragement to the churches in Asia Minor.

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.

Gospel: Luke 18:35-43

Jesus cures the blind man, who then becomes a disciple.

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.


What might conversion cost?

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 of 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.”


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