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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 18.01.24

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 18.01.24

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1ST SAMUEL 18: 6 – 9; 19: 1 – 7

In those days: As they were coming home, when David returned from slaying the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with timbrels, with songs of joy, and with instruments of music. And the women sang to one another as they made merry, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him; he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on. And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you; therefore take heed to yourself in the morning, stay in a secret place and hide yourself, and I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you; and if I learn anything I will tell you.” And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David; because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have been of good service to you; for he took his life in his hand and he slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great victory for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced; why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan; Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan showed him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  
Psalm 56: 2 – 3, 9 – 10ab, 10c – 11, 12 – 13 (R.) 5b

R/.  In God I trust; I shall not fear.

Have mercy on me, O God, for people assail me;
they fight me all day long and oppress me.
My foes assail me all day long:
many fight proudly against me. R/.

You have kept an account of my wanderings;
you have placed my tears in your flask;
are they not recorded in your book?
Then my foes will turn back
on the day when I call to you. R/.

This I know, that God is on my side.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord whose word I praise. R/.

In God I trust; I shall not fear.
What can man do to me?
I am bound by the vows I have made you.
O God, I will offer you praise. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
2nd Timothy 1: 10

Alleluia.
Our Saviour Christ Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.

GOSPEL         
“The unclean spirits cried out, ‘You are the Son of God. ’And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.”
MARK 3: 7 – 12

At that time:  Jesus  withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and  a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him; for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Single-Minded Devotion


January 18, 2024

He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. (Mark 3:9–10)

It’s fascinating to ponder the enthusiasm that so many people had toward Jesus. In the passage above, we see Jesus asked His disciples to have a boat ready for Him so that He would not be crushed as He taught the crowd. He had been curing many who were sick, and the crowd was pressing upon Him to try to simply touch Him.

This scene provides us with an illustration of what must happen within our interior lives regarding our Lord. The people can be said to have been single-minded in their devotion to Jesus and fervent in their desire for Him. Granted, their desire may have been somewhat selfishly motivated by the desire for physical cures of their ailments and those of their loved ones, but nonetheless, their attraction was real and powerful, driving them to put their complete focus upon our Lord.

Jesus’ choice to get into a boat and distance Himself a bit from the crowd was also an act of love. Why? Because this act allowed Jesus to help them refocus upon His deeper mission. Though He did miracles out of compassion and so as to manifest His almighty power, His primary focus was to teach people and to lead them into the full Truth of the message He was preaching. Therefore, by separating Himself from them, they were invited to listen to Him rather than just try to touch Him for the sake of a physical miracle. For Jesus, the spiritual wholeness He desired to give the crowd was of much greater significance than any physical healing He also gave.

In our own lives, Jesus may “separate” Himself from us in somewhat superficial ways so that we will be more open to the deeper and more transforming purpose of His life. For example, He may remove certain feelings of consolation or permit us to encounter some trial through which He seems to be less present to us. But when this happens, it is always so that we will turn to Him on a deeper level of trust and openness so as to be drawn more deeply into a relationship of love.

Reflect, today, upon how single-minded your devotion is to our Lord. From there, ponder, also, if you are more attached to the good feelings and consolations you seek or if your devotion is deeper, focused more on the transforming message our Lord wants to preach to you. See yourself on that shore, listening to Jesus speak, and allow His holy words to transform your life more deeply.

PRAYER:
My saving God, I turn to You, this day, and seek to be single-minded in my love and devotion to You. Help me, first and foremost, to listen to Your transforming Word and to allow that Word to become the central focus of my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

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