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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 09.01.24

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 09.01.24

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1ST SAMUEL 1: 9 – 20

In those days: After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your maidservant, and remember me, and not forget your maidservant, but will give to your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard; therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunken? Put away your wine from you.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman sorely troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your maidservant as a base woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your maidservant find favour in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her countenance was no longer sad. They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her; and in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
1st Samuel 2: 1, 4 – 5, 6 – 7, 8abcd  (R.) 1a

R/. My heart exults in the Lord, my Saviour.

My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation. R/.

The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn. R/.

The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts. R/.

He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the dung heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honour. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
1st Thessalonians 2: 13

Alleluia.
Accept the word of God, not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“He taught them as one who had authority.“
MARK 1: 21b – 28

[In the city of Capernaum,] Jesus entered the synagogue on the sabbath and taught. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Confronting the Evil One
January 9, 2024

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” (Mark 1:23–25)

There were numerous times when Jesus directly confronted demons in the Scriptures. Each time He rebuked them and exercised His authority over them. The passage above illustrates one such case.

The fact that the devil shows himself over and over in the Gospels tells us that the evil one is real and needs to be dealt with appropriately. And the appropriate way to deal with the evil one and his fellow demons is to rebuke them with the authority of Christ Jesus Himself in a calm but definitive and authoritative way.

It’s very rare that the evil one makes himself fully manifest to us in the way that he did in the passage above to Jesus. The demon speaks directly through this man, which indicates that the man was fully possessed. And though we do not see this form of manifestation often, it doesn’t mean that the evil one is any less active today. Instead, it shows that the authority of Christ is not being exercised by the Christian faithful to the extent that is necessary to combat the evil one. Instead, we often cower in the face of evil and fail to confidently and charitably stand our ground with Christ.

Why did this demon manifest himself in such a visible way? Because this demon was directly confronted with the authority of Jesus. The devil usually prefers to remain hidden and deceptive, presenting himself as an angel of light so that his evil ways are not known clearly. Those whom he controls often do not even know how much they are influenced by the evil one. But when the evil one is confronted with the pure presence of Christ, with the Truth of the Gospel that sets us free, and with Jesus’ authority, this confrontation often forces the evil one to react by manifesting his evil.

Reflect, today, upon the fact that the evil one is constantly at work all around us. Consider the people and circumstances in your life where the pure and holy Truth of God is attacked and rejected. It is in those situations, more than any other, that Jesus wants to bestow upon you His divine authority to confront evil, rebuke it and take authority over it. This is primarily done through prayer and deep trust in the power of God. Don’t be afraid to allow God to use you to confront the activity of the evil one in this world.

PRAYER:
Lord, give me courage and wisdom when I face the activity of the evil one in this world. Give me wisdom to discern his hand at work and give me courage to confront and rebuke him with Your love and authority. May Your authority be alive in my life, Lord Jesus, and may I daily become a better instrument of the coming of Your Kingdom as I confront the evil present in this world. Jesus, I trust in You.

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