First Love

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him,
to show his servants what must happen soon.
He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
who gives witness to the word of God
and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud
and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message
and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.

John, to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you and peace
from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne.

I heard the Lord saying to me:
“To the angel of the Church in Ephesus, write this:

“‘The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand
and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this:
“I know your works, your labor, and your endurance,
and that you cannot tolerate the wicked;
you have tested those who call themselves Apostles but are not,
and discovered that they are impostors.
Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name,
and you have not grown weary.
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.”’”
(Luke 21:5-19)

 

Scripture Study

2:1 Ephesus: The most prestigious cultural, commercial, and religious center in the Roman province of Asia. Paul established the Church there (Acts 19:1–10) and later commissioned Timothy to build on his foundation (1 Tim 1:3). It is uncertain as to when John assumed pastoral responsibility over Ephesus and the other churches in the region.

2:4 abandoned the love: The Ephesians had turned their hearts away from Christ and let their enthusiasm for Christian living die down (Mt 24:12). According to Jesus, this constitutes a spiritual “fall” from which they must recover (Rev 2:5).

2:5 remove your lampstand: The price of impenitence is divine judgment. The threat of removal may recall the historical plight of Ephesus, a city that was twice forced to relocate because of the silting of its river and harbor.[1]

Reflection

the love you had at first

“The future for me is already a thing of the past / You were my first love and you will be my last.” – Bob Dylan

“It’s like trying to describe what you feel when you’re standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon or remembering your first love or the birth of your child. You have to be there to really know what it’s like.” – Jack Schmitt

Two interesting quotes on “first love” which speak to the Greek concept of love – eros – which is centered on the physical, sensual aspects of love. But St John is referring to agape love – the highest level of love known to humanity – a selfless love, a love that is passionately committed to the well-being of the other.

It is so easy at times to fall prey to the ways of the world and lose the joy found in true agape love. Have you fallen away from the intimacy found in union with Jesus? Give over to the Lord that which is distracting you from this loving relationship, so that you may return to the light of love, in order to give that same light to others.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 495.