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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 28.01.24

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 28.01.24

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18: 15 – 20

Moses spoke to the people, saying, “The Lord your  God will  raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren— him you shall heed — just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘They have rightly said all that they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him, But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. ”’

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 95: 1 – 2, 6 – 7abc, 7d – 9 (R.) 7d, 8a

R/. O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.

Come, let us ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come into his presence, giving thanks;
let us hail him with a song of praise. R/.

O come; let us bow and bend low.
Let us kneel before the God who made us,
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand. R/.

O that today you would listen to his voice!
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your forebears put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.” R/.

SECOND READING
“The virgin is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy.”
1ST CORINTHIANS 7: 32 – 35

Brethren: I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or virgin is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

The Word of the Lord.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Matthew 4: 16

Alleluia.
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.
Alleluia.

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

[In the city of Capernaum] on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue 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 spirit, 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: The Subtleties of Grace


January 28, 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!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. (Mark 1:23–26)

It’s interesting to note that this unclean spirit immediately knows Who Jesus is. This is because each of two opposites emphasizes the other very clearly. For example, the color black is most clearly seen when it is placed in front of something white. Or something hot is most noticeable after experiencing something very cold. And a loud noise is most jarring when someone is sitting in silence. And so it is with Jesus and evil. Jesus, the Holy One of God, is most clearly seen when He comes in contact with an unclean spirit.

This fact gives us some wonderful insights into our journey toward the heights of holiness. Oftentimes, when one experiences a profound and transforming conversion, it is because they were first living a life of sin. When one who is living in sin encounters the saving grace of God, it is quite noticeable. And that is good.

But there is also another spiritual insight we can take from this. To further the analogy, it is also true that when the color black is put next to something dark blue, or something hot is touched after holding something quite warm, there is less notice taken. So it is with the spiritual life. When we are striving to obtain true holiness of life, and when we are already living the many virtues to which we are called, the next step closer to God might not be nearly as noticeable. Instead, growth in perfection for one who is already striving for perfection will be very subtle. And that is also good.

This is important to understand because sometimes, when a person has gone through a powerful conversion earlier in life, they want to return to the experience they had when they initially converted. But that should not be our goal. Instead, we should continually strive to experience these more subtle changes that take us from a life of holiness to one of even greater holiness. In this case, if you do not sense a powerful contrast of spiritual experiences within you, that may be simply because there are no serious sins you are trying to overcome. Thus, the ideal for every Christian is to eventually experience less contrasting spiritual experiences and more that are gentle and subtle as our Lord continues to gently perfect you in many ways.

Reflect, today, upon your own spiritual journey toward holiness. If you do see serious sin in your life, know that God wants to profoundly free you and draw you through a major conversion. If you do not see serious sin in your life and if you already strive daily to become holy, then rejoice if your spiritual consolations and communications from God are much more subtle and, at times, undetectable. Keep working at perfection and rejoice that you are on the correct path.

PRAYER:
Lord of all holiness, please continue to draw me into the life of perfection. Help me to grow in every virtue and to continually be aware of every gift of grace I am given. Please help me, especially, to be attentive to every small and subtle grace and to respond to those graces with a truly open and grateful heart. Jesus, I trust in You!

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