Type to search

Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 17.01.24

Latest Religion

Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 17.01.24

Share

1ST SAMUEL 17: 32 – 33, 37, 40 – 51

In those days: David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”  And Saul said to David, “You are not able to  go against  this  Philistine to  fight with  him;  for you  are but  a youth,  and he  has  been  a man of war from his youth.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in his shepherd’s bag or wallet; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.  And the Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked, and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, ruddy and comely in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut  off your head;  and I will  give the  dead bodies  of  the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.” When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly towards the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.  So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine, and killed him; there was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

R/. Blest be the Lord, my rock!

Blest be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle,
who prepares my fingers for war. R/.

He is my merciful love, my fortress;
he is my stronghold, my saviour,
my shield in whom I take refuge.
He brings peoples under my rule. R/.

To you, O God, will I sing a new song;
I will play on the ten-stringed harp
to you who give kings their victory,
who set David your servant free
from the evil sword. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Matthew 4: 23

Alleluia.
Jesus was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every infirmity among the people.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“Is it lawful on the sabbath to save life or to kill?”
MARK 3: 1 – 6

At that time: Again Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked …

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Grieved at the Hardness of Heart
Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. (Mark 3:4–5)

Sin damages our relationship with God. But hardness of heart is even more damaging because it perpetuates the damage done by sin. And the harder one’s heart, the more permanent the damage.

In the passage above, Jesus was angry with the Pharisees. Oftentimes the passion of anger is sinful, resulting from impatience and a lack of charity. But at other times, the passion of anger can be good when it is motivated by love of others and hatred for their sin. In this case, Jesus was grieved by the hardness of heart of the Pharisees, and that grief motivated His holy anger. His “holy” anger did not cause irrational criticism; rather, it drove Jesus to cure this man in the presence of the Pharisees so that they would soften their hearts and believe in Jesus. Sadly, it didn’t work. The very next line of the Gospel says, “The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death” (Mark 3:6).

Hardness of heart should be greatly avoided. The problem is that those who are hard of heart are usually not open to the fact that they are hard of heart. They are obstinate and stubborn, and oftentimes self-righteous. Therefore, when people suffer from this spiritual ailment, it is difficult for them to change, especially when confronted.

This Gospel passage offers you an important opportunity to look into your own heart with honesty. Only you and God need to be part of that interior introspection and conversation. Begin by reflecting upon the Pharisees and the poor example they set. From there, try to look at yourself with great honesty. Are you obstinate? Are you hardened in your convictions to the point that you are unwilling to even consider that you may be wrong at times? Are there people in your life with whom you have entered into a conflict that still remains? If any of this rings true, then you may indeed suffer from the spiritual ill of a hardened heart.

Reflect, today, upon your own soul and your relationships with others with as much honesty as possible. Do not hesitate to let your guard down and be open to what God may want to say to you. And if you detect even the slightest tendency toward a hardened and stubborn heart, beg our Lord to enter in to soften it. Change like this is difficult, but the rewards of such a change are incalculable. Do not hesitate and do not wait. Change is worth it in the end.

PRAYER:
My loving Lord, this day I open myself to an examination of my own heart and pray that You will help me to always be open to change when necessary. Help me, especially, to see any hardness I may have within my heart. Help me to overcome any obstinacy, stubbornness and self-righteousness. Give me the gift of humility, dear Lord, so that my heart can become more like Yours. Jesus, I trust in You.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error

Enjoy our stories? Please spread the word: