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.
Psalm 144: 1 – 2, 9 – 10 (R ) 1a
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/.
Matthew 4: 23
Jesus was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every infirmity among the people.
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 around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION: Freedom From the Confusion of Sin
January 19, 2022
It didn’t take long for the Pharisees to allow envy to cloud their thinking about Jesus. The Pharisees wanted all the attention. They wanted to be looked up to and honored as the authentic teachers of the law. So when Jesus showed up, and many were astounded by the authority with which He taught, the Pharisees immediately began to criticize Him.
The sad reality we witness in their actions is that they appear to be blind to their own malice. The envy that fills them keeps them from realizing that they are actually acting with extreme irrationality. This is an important and very difficult lesson to learn.
Sin confuses us, especially spiritual sin such as pride, envy and anger. Therefore, when someone becomes consumed with one of these sins, that person most likely does not even realize how irrational he becomes. Take the example of the Pharisees.
Jesus is put in a situation where He chooses to heal someone on the Sabbath. This is an act of mercy. It is done out of love for this man to relieve him of his suffering. Though this is an incredible miracle, the disturbed minds of the Pharisees look only for a way to twist this act of mercy into something sinful. What an appalling scene.
Though this may not at first be that inspiring of a thought upon which to reflect, it’s necessary to reflect on it. Why? Because we all struggle, to one extent or another, with sins like this. We all struggle with letting envy and anger sneak in and distort the way we relate to others. Then, too often we justify our actions just as the Pharisees did.
Reflect, today, upon this most unfortunate scene. But reflect upon it with the hope that the poor example of the Pharisees will help you to identify any of the same tendencies in your own heart. Seeing these tendencies they struggle with should help free you from falling into the irrational thinking that comes as a result of sin.
My most merciful Lord Jesus, please do forgive me for all my sins. I am sorry and I pray that I will be able to see all that clouds my thinking and acting. Free me and help me to love You and others with the pure love I am called to have. Jesus, I trust in You.