Bible Diary for January 14th – 20thBible Diary
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1 S 3:3b-10, 19
Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20
Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.
Gospel: Jn 1:35-42
John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.
Eli helps Samuel to discern God‘s call and respond. Paul reminds Corinthians and us that all of us are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit. John presents the call of the first disciples of Jesus. Call and Response is the theme for this Sunday. Samuel is called; first disciples are called; Paul reminds us of our call. In all these, there is a “third person“ who helps the ones called to discern the call and respond – Eli, John the Baptist, Andrew, Paul. Not every call comes from God. It takes an experienced elder — someone who has gone and seen where God lives — to help us discern the voice of God in the din of everyday life. Do you have such a third person in your life, who can help you discern God‘s little whispers? If yes, you are blessed. If no, do not wait longer. Go and find one. And if you have gone and seen, be one to someone else.
Lord, help me come and see where you live and in turn, guide others to do the same.
Talk to your spiritual director today. If you do not have one, begin your search today.
1st Reading: 1 S 15:16-23
Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!”
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel: “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
“Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”
Gospel: Mk 2:18-22
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
These words of Jesus express the dynamism of his teachings. It is so much in contrast with the historical maldevelopment of our faith when what became important and normative was dogmatism and static teaching. But anything that is alive has to change, has to be renewed. Every age has its characteristics and its challenges, its perspectives and its context. And if the Gospel is frozen to a specific age it will lose its vitality. I think that is why Pope Francis is showing us how we can live the Gospels in our times, answering the needs of the people today, healing their particular woundedness and inspiring us to face the challenges of our age. That is why many are coming back to the Church. Those who were disillulsioned, those who felt they did not belong and those who felt condemned and excluded are finding hope that the Church is indeed their home and it is in her womb that they will grow and develop to their full humanity.
1st Reading: 1 S 16:1 – 13
The LORD said to Samuel:
“How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
But Samuel replied:
“How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me.”
To this the LORD answered:
“Take a heifer along and say,
‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”
Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
“Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”
“Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
“The LORD has not chosen this one either.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There–anoint him, for this is he!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.
Gospel: Mk 2:23-28
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
This saying of Jesus was in the context of his disciples doing something forbidden on the Sabbath. Laws and rules originally are there to facilitate life in a community. Observance of them normally prevents conflicts, misunderstandings, and chaos. However, laws and rules have the tendency, as time goes by, to take on a life of their own and, after the situation in which they were made have changed, they continue to exist and become oppressive to people. One example is the Sunday Mass obligation. In the beginning, it was a joyful commemoration of the last supper. As time went on, the attendance at such reunion became obligatory. In fact, I remember in my childhood catechism lessons that missing Mass on Sunday through one‘s fault is a mortal sin and would be punished (of course – since it is mortal) by hell. We of course today see how disproportionate the punishment is to the deed. We need rules, regulations, laws, etc, but their observance must take into consideration the context,the situation and the good of the person. I believe that in school one should not teach the children that being good means obeying rules. What is more important is to train the students in good, responsible decision-making. Formation of a good conscience is the key to living a good moral life.
1st Reading: 1 S 17:32 – 33, 37, 40 – 51
David spoke to Saul:
“Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.”
But Saul answered David,
“You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”
“The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine.”
Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”
Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag.
With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.
With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
“Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?”
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, “Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field.”
David answered him:
“You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves.
For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.”
The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.
Gospel: Mk 3:1-6
Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
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.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
In many situations in the Gospel one can sense Jesus‘ frustration with his disciples and listeners because they cannot seem to grasp what he is trying to show them. But with the Scribes and Pharisees, it is more than frustration which Jesus felt but “deep sadness“ and even anger because of their “hardness of heart.“ With the disciples it is more lack of understanding but not outright hardness of heart. In this incident it is clear that the Scribes and Pharisees did not care for the wellness of people but more for strict adherence to their rules. It is this same compassion which urged Pope Francis to say in one of his audiences: “The task of the Church is not to make moral and dogmatic pronouncements but to heal and warm the hearts of people.“ What a beautiful way of explaining the real meaning of the Gospel. Loving God, melt our hearts that we may truly be one with the sufferings and misery of people around us. Give us the grace and the opportunity to heal their wounds and to warm their hearts.
1st Reading: 1 S 18:6-9; 19:1-7
When David and Saul approached
(on David’s return after slaying the Philistine),
women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul,
singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums.
The women played and sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.”
Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought:
“They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me.
All that remains for him is the kingship.”
And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.
Saul discussed his intention of killing David
with his son Jonathan and with all his servants.
But Saul’s son Jonathan, who was very fond of David, told him:
“My father Saul is trying to kill you.
Therefore, please be on your guard tomorrow morning;
get out of sight and remain in hiding.
I, however, will go out and stand beside my father
in the countryside where you are, and will speak to him about you.
If I learn anything, I will let you know.”
Jonathan then spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him:
“Let not your majesty sin against his servant David,
for he has committed no offense against you,
but has helped you very much by his deeds.
When he took his life in his hands and slew the Philistine,
and the LORD brought about a great victory
for all Israel through him,
you were glad to see it.
Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood
by killing David without cause?”
Saul heeded Jonathan’s plea and swore,
“As the LORD lives, he shall not be killed.”
So Jonathan summoned David and repeated the whole conversation to him.
Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and David served him as before.
Gospel: Mk 3:7-12
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
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.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.
The refrain of the responsorial Psalm today is a wonderful consoling phrase. Fear is one of the emotions that shackle our soul. Fear paralyzes us. It prevents us from doing good, from taking a risk, from doing what is right. There are many kinds of fear — physical, psychological, emotional and it ranges from the fear of peoples‘ opinion of us to fear of threats to our life and well-being. There are also reasonable as well as unfounded fears, of real fears and imagined fears. Whatever kind it is, it diminishes our inner freedom. So it is important to face our fears and see them for what they are. Facing them will make us realize what are imagined or exaggerated fear. But facing fear will make us also assess the causes of our fears. Freedom from fear does not mean that we will never feel it. Freedom from fear means to correctly assess our fears and to act in spite of our fear for a higher cause. And we have the confidence that God will hold our hands and guide us and make us strong in acting in spite of our fears. Let our constant mantra be: I TRUST IN GOD; I SHALL NOT FEAR.
1st Reading: 1 S 24:3 – 21
Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel
and went in search of David and his men
in the direction of the wild goat crags.
When he came to the sheepfolds along the way, he found a cave,
which he entered to relieve himself.
David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave.
David’s servants said to him,
“This is the day of which the LORD said to you,
‘I will deliver your enemy into your grasp;
do with him as you see fit.’”
So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul’s mantle.
Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off
an end of Saul’s mantle.
He said to his men,
“The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master,
the LORD’s anointed, as to lay a hand on him,
for he is the LORD’s anointed.”
With these words David restrained his men
and would not permit them to attack Saul.
Saul then left the cave and went on his way.
David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul,
“My lord the king!”
When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul:
“Why do you listen to those who say,
‘David is trying to harm you’?
You see for yourself today that the LORD just now delivered you
into my grasp in the cave.
I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead.
I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord,
for he is the LORD’s anointed and a father to me.’
Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold.
Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you,
see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion.
I have done you no wrong,
though you are hunting me down to take my life.
The LORD will judge between me and you,
and the LORD will exact justice from you in my case.
I shall not touch you.
The old proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes forth wickedness.’
So I will take no action against you.
Against whom are you on campaign, O king of Israel?
Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, or a single flea!
The LORD will be the judge; he will decide between me and you.
May he see this, and take my part,
and grant me justice beyond your reach!”
When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul answered,
“Is that your voice, my son David?”
And Saul wept aloud.
Saul then said to David: “You are in the right rather than I;
you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.
Great is the generosity you showed me today,
when the LORD delivered me into your grasp
and you did not kill me.
For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed?
May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day.
And now, I know that you shall surely be king
and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”
Gospel: Mk 3:13-19
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
All of us Christians by virtue of our baptism are called to be apostles. Being an apostle means that we proclaim the Gospel — Good News of salvation. I think primarily this means that we ourselves have somehow to live what we preach. The good news is that God in his unconditional love for us has become one of us to make us understand and experience concretely what this love is all about. If our news is GOOD news, it has to show in our being that we are a people of joy. How can one proclaim a good news with a long face. But somehow in the maldevelopment of a certain type of spirituality, holiness has become identified with long ascetic face and joyless demeanor. Then of course preaching this good news means allowing oneself to be God‘s instrument in “warming the hearts and healing wounds of people“ as Pope Francis so wonderfully expresses it. I remember when I was studying in Germany, I used to visit a church where the crucifix has no arms because they were cut off when the Allies bombed the city during World War II. Beneath the cross, there is a sentence: “ I have no arms. YOU are my arms.“So one can say being an apostle means being God‘s arms to embrace the world.
1st Reading: 2 S 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27
David returned from his defeat of the Amalekites
and spent two days in Ziklag.
On the third day a man came from Saul’s camp,
with his clothes torn and dirt on his head.
Going to David, he fell to the ground in homage.
David asked him, “Where do you come from?”
He replied, “I have escaped from the camp of the children of Israel.”
“Tell me what happened,” David bade him.
He answered that many of the soldiers had fled the battle
and that many of them had fallen and were dead,
among them Saul and his son Jonathan.
David seized his garments and rent them,
and all the men who were with him did likewise.
They mourned and wept and fasted until evening
for Saul and his son Jonathan,
and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel,
because they had fallen by the sword.
“Alas! the glory of Israel, Saul,
slain upon your heights;
how can the warriors have fallen!
“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and cherished,
separated neither in life nor in death,
swifter than eagles, stronger than lions!
Women of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and in finery,
who decked your attire with ornaments of gold.
“How can the warriors have fallen–
in the thick of the battle,
slain upon your heights!
“I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother!
most dear have you been to me;
more precious have I held love for you than love for women.
“How can the warriors have fallen,
the weapons of war have perished!”
Gospel: Mk 3:20-21
Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Everyone aspires for power of some sort — even just the ability to influence one or two people. There is actually nothing wrong with power. What is important is how one uses power. According to a native American eco-feminist, Starhawk, there are 3 ways of using power: controlling power which uses power to manipulate and coerce people, power within — which discovers and develops the innate capabilities of people and power with – which harnesses and collects the gifts of everyone for the good of the community. Controlling power is the power that corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. People in power feel that they can do anything with impunity and can coerce everyone to do their will. But as Scripture shows and human experiences tell us: HOW THE MIGHTY ONES HAVE FALLEN! There is an end to everything and the higher one is, the deeper one‘s fall. And in the Magnificat, Mary exclaims: GOD SHALL PUT DOWN THE MIGHTY FROM THEIR SEAT AND EXALT THE HUMBLE! Gracious Lord, help us to use whatever power we have to make other people bloom and to create peace and prosperity in our community. Remind us always that there is an end to everything and that we should hold power lightly in the palm of our hands. Amen.