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Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

1:1-4; 2:1-5 & Lk. 18:35-43

The Book of Revelation was written during a time of intense persecution of the Church. People believed that the end of the world was very near and that only Christ's return to Earth could set things straight.

The Apostle John certainly believed that the end was near. Indeed, he had received an angelic vision that had uncovered the future for him, and it took an entire book to spell out in detail what the end would be like and how it would come to pass. His first and last word to the readers of this unveiling of the future was to be prepared. There was no time to waste. Everything that had been revealed to him must happen very soon!

The end of the world did not come as quickly as Saint John thought it would. What are we to make of his words of warning today? Is there some abiding truth in his call to be ready? Whether the world lasts for another day or for another billion years, we ought to live our lives as if every day is the last one before the end of the world.

The Book of Revelation begins with messages to seven churches. These were real communities at the time with problems we all face. The one in Ephesus is praised for its good works and resisting the evil seductions of heresy, but they had turned aside from their early love for Christ. The centre and spirit of the Christian life was lost.

How many times in life have we felt like this blind beggar in today's Gospel, sitting by the roadside alone, down-and-out and hard on luck – physically, spiritually or emotionally? Despite witnessing our distress some people simply walk by without a care. Others dare not look at us. Some may even scold us, like the people in the Gospel telling the beggar to be silent.

Just as he could not give himself what he most desired - sight - we are unable to give ourselves what we most need - faith and wisdom to view all things as God sees them. Do I regularly ask for an increase of faith and wisdom? Am I aware of how much I need a strong faith?

As Christians, we take some real blows and even some falls. But God does not want us to become discouraged. He wants us to see these as opportunities to turn to Him, the source of the strength and help we need. Other voices will tell us to be quiet, to work things out and not to bother the Master, but are we aware that Jesus constantly passes by, the only One who can bring us the peace for which our hearts desire and long? “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” Jesus promises us that He will listen to our request, just as He did to the blind man. What we really need is the vision that only the supernatural virtue of faith can give - the ability to see everything from God’s vantage point and to see how the difficulties and trials we experience are part of a bigger picture. We need to have the firm assurance of the final victory of the Lamb – Jesus - and the strength to persevere in fidelity.

Lord Jesus, let us see and increase our faith and wisdom. Allow us to praise and glorify You for Your constant companionship, for never leaving us alone in our struggles and trials. Increase our faith so that we will be able to experience Your love even amidst our difficulties and trials.

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