First Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1Sam 3:1-10, 19-20
During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli, a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent. One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see. The lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and 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 Eli 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. Thus all Israel from Dan to Beersheba came to know that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD.
Gospel: Mk 1:29-39
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
EVERYONE IS LOOKING FOR YOU: Each of us is restless until we rest in the Lord. During the time of Eli, the Word of the Lord was uncommon, and consequently many like Samuel could not recognize the Voice of the Lord. Eli helped Samuel to recognize the Lord. How much have we helped others to recognize the Lord in their lives? We can only do this if we ourselves have known the ways of the Lord. In the Gospel, the disciples are helping the crowds to reach Jesus, while Jesus helps all to reach his Father. Let us be like Eli and like the disciples in taking people to our Lord Jesus Christ. May we hearken to the voice of God like Samuel, when we are directed by our bishops, priests and by church leaders.
Prayer: O Lord, grant that we all embrace the missionary spirit towards each other, to spread the fire of your love wherever we go and to whoever we meet.
LIFE OF PRAYER: It was God’s gracious plan to save the world through the human flesh—Jesus became human and he shared our earthly life so as to save us from the slavery of sin. Though this great Christian truth was explained by the apostles recognized during their period, the truth of incarnation was fiercely debated for the first four centuries of the Church history. They questioned how God can become man and how can he share our sinful nature. God chose to save us through the flesh to show that our human flesh can be redeemed and kept holy. We too can live holy lives as Christ himself lived. Jesus kept himself holy through his constant communion with the Father through daily prayer. Our flesh will be safe only with the constant dialogue with God.
ATTAINING DIVINE WISDOM: We come across people who hold their ground against all odds, standing their ground against any opposition. Such are the people seen today; a people who wish to cash in on the presence of Jesus. They take advantage of this miracle worker, “The whole town was gathered at his door”. This led to the words of Simon, “Everyone is looking for you”. Jesus on His part maintains a presence of mind and a certain fortitude, and hence swims away from such swirling sea currents. He however, keeps to mind the mandate from above handed on to him: “For this purpose I have come” Mk 1: 38. From His reaction, we learn from the story of the sparrow that was stuck in the fresh warm dung, on a cold winter morning. For a moment she felt cozy and warmed up. However, soon a better sense prevailed; within minutes she was going to be fully trapped in the hardened dung forever. Let us be led by God’s wisdom to move out of our comfort zone and do right even when the moment looks inviting.