1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7; Mark 3:7-12
In God I trust, I shall not fear.
I really enjoy reflecting on David’s stories. They become all the more interesting because we have the Psalms to give us a picture of David’s internal wrestling and prayer life that accompany the stories. There seem to be so many lessons to learn from the picture of the relationship between David and God in the Bible.
The readings for today bring to my mind lessons related to the power of steadfast faith in God. Throughout the Psalms we have beautiful passages, including ones in the readings for today, that eloquently affirm a belief in God’s care and goodness despite physical situations that seem unbearable. We see David recognizing his current circumstances and then affirming his faith that God’s power or mercy creates a reality beyond that suggested by current circumstances. David’s story, especially the portion around the passages for today, is a real rollercoaster – anointed as king then back to the sheep; conquer a giant, enjoy the adoration of crowds and then fall out of favor with the king.
1 Samuel 16:1-13; Mark 2:23-28
Today's readings present two of my favorite Biblical accounts. The first is the choosing of David as king. The Gospel account is that of Jesus being confronted by a Pharisee because His disciples were violating the Sabbath by picking grain.
At first glance the two readings might seem to have nothing to do with each other, but in fact I believe that they are closely related. The key passage in the first reading is one that has always been a little frightening to me. God says to Samuel: "Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart." I find this a bit unsettling, because — as with, I believe, all humans — there is plenty in my heart that I don't want anybody to see. There lie all of my weaknesses, temptations, unfulfilled desires and unholy thoughts.
1 Samuel 15:16-23; Mark 2:18-22
As far as we know, there was only one day of fasting required for all first-century Jews, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It was like one day in what we have come to know in the Islamic fasting during Ramadan—no food or drink from sun-up till sundown. Jewish tradition suggests that the more fervent, however, fasted twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. This may be what is meant by Mark’s statement that the disciples of John the Baptist and of the Pharisees “were accustomed to fast.” When some people ask Jesus why his followers don’t fast like those other reformers, the implication seems to be that if he was a really serious reformer, he would be asking a similar discipline of his disciples.
Pope’s homily at Mass on World Day of Migrants and Refugees:
This year I wanted to celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees with a Mass that invites and welcomes you especially who are migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Some of you have recently arrived in Italy, others are long-time residents and work here, and still others make up the so-called “second-generation”.
For everyone in this assembly, the Word of God has resonated and today invites us to deepen the special call that the Lord addresses to each one of us. As he did with Samuel (cf 1 Sm 3:3b-10,19), he calls us by name and asks us to honour the fact that each of us has been created a unique and unrepeatable being, each different from the others and each with a singular role in the history of the world. In the Gospel (cf Jn 1:35-42), the two disciples of John ask Jesus, “Where do you live?” (v. 38), implying that the reply to this question would determine their judgment upon the master from Nazareth. The response of Jesus, “Come and see!” (v. 39) opens up to a personal encounter which requires sufficient time to welcome, to know and to acknowledge the other.
1 Sam 3:3b-10, 19; 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20; John 1:35-43
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they staying with him that day.
When people begin the study of biblical Greek, the first text from the Bible they read is usually the Gospel of John. The sample printed above from today’s reading from John tells you why: the Fourth Gospel is written in very simple Greek. And the sentences are simple and straightforward in structure.
“What are you looking for?”
“Where are you staying?”
“Come and see.”
Jesus has just healed (physically and spiritually) the paralytic man. Now, Jesus takes time out of his teaching to say to Levi, a tax collector who is working at the time, “follow me.” Mark then presents the scene of Jesus at Levi’s house at table with him and many other “tax collectors and sinners.” As usual, the sight of Jesus in this situation upsets the Pharisees, which leads to Jesus saying, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22; Mark 2:1-12
Visions Vs. Seeing
What do we want? What do we need? What do we vision for ourselves? What do we see in what is given to us daily?
In today’s first reading, the people come to Samuel with this request: “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”
Samuel’s patient explanation to the people of what this new leadership (king) would be… ‘…your sons will fight in war; your resources (time effort, energy, and goods) will serve the wants of the king;…he will tithe your flocks and you will become his slaves. You will complain, but God will not hear you,” goes unheeded by the people.
For what do we hope, expect, ask? Do our visions/expectations for ourselves so cloud our perceptions that we are unable to see/hear what is really being offered to us…God’s wisdom within us?
What are the costs/responsibilities connected to what we seek/vision: prosperity…riches…professional advances…, peace, goodwill, joy, love…? All have consequences…all are more than what is seen. Are we ready to take on full responsibility?
The 1st of January opens the New Year that brings promises of happiness, fulfilment of dreams and curiosity: what good will come to us?
Among many events of coming year, the calendar indicates the date of May 16th. This is the day when the 200th Anniversary of Pallotti’s priestly ordination falls. This is also the source of our Pallottine vocation and inspiration for the beginning of several articles to be shared.