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Tuesday, May 18, 1999

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Pentecost Novena - Day 5
Pope St. John I

Acts 20:17-27
Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21
John 17:1-11

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first love

"Paul sent word from Miletus to Ephesus, summoning the presbyters of that church." —Acts 20:17

On three of the nine days of our Pentecost novena, we read about the church of Ephesus. This church was founded by Paul. When Paul laid his hands on twelve Ephesian men, "the Holy Spirit came down on them and they began to speak in tongues and to utter prophecies" (Acts 19:6). Within two years, this church proclaimed God's word to over a million people in the province of Asia (Acts 19:10). This proclamation of the word was accompanied by dramatic signs, wonders (see Mk 16:20), healings, and deliverances (Acts 19:12).

However, not all was well with the Ephesian Christians. Paul "insisted solemnly on repentance before God and on faith in our Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:21). "For three years, night and day," Paul "never ceased warning" the Ephesian church "to the point of tears" (Acts 20:31). He warned them that savage wolves would come from their midst, distort the truth, and lead astray any who would follow them (Acts 20:29-31). Paul's warnings were heeded by many who openly confessed their involvement in the occult (Acts 19:18). However, many Ephesian Christians did not repent. They made life miserable for Paul (see 1 Cor 15:32) and Timothy (see 1 Tm 1:3ff). A generation later, Jesus warned the church of Ephesus that it had lost its first love and needed to repent, or He would close it down (Rv 2:4-5).

This Pentecost, be like the church of Ephesus in its early days. Return to your first love of Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, may I always love You more and never less.

Promise:  "For these I pray — not for the world but for these You have given me, for they are really Yours." —Jn 17:9

Praise:  Pope John I was bishop of Rome only three years. He died in prison but never lost his first Love.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, October 9, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 17, 1998