Thursday 20 January 2022 – FALL DOWN

Second Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: 1Sam 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.                 

FALL DOWN: In the first reading, the Israelites rejoice at their victory. God has granted them victory over the Philistines. However, there are two reactions to this. On the one part, the people are jubilant at the victory. I imagine David is also grateful to God for having delivered the Philistines to them. On the contrary, Saul is angry, bitter, jealous. He even desires to kill David. In the gospel reading, the large numbers are happy and follow Jesus for healing. A great one is among them to bring them joy. On the contrary, the unclean spirits feel threatened. They fall down in front of him with fear. We experience and encounter God, do we do so in joy and praise as we see his might, or do we fear? Are we jealous of God’s work amidst our fellow human beings, or do we rejoice in their success?

Prayer: Lord help us to admit your only begotten Son and submit ourselves to him in joy

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COMPASSION IN EVERY WAY: The gospel passage gives an insight into what Jesus’ ministry was like, and the impact it had.  How the crowds flocked to Jesus from all the regions surrounding Galilee to hear Jesus preach, to bring the sick to be healed and the demon possessed to be delivered. So many people flocked to Jesus that he ordered his disciples to get a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him, such was the hunger and desire people had to be near Jesus.  The response to Jesus was huge, and one of the reasons why was because of the compassion Jesus had for these people.  Jesus had compassion and love for all people, for the sick, the lost, the lonely, the homeless, the disposed, everyone, and he never turned anyone away.   When Jesus visited the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth he laid out his manifesto, quoting from Isaiah 61: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me. . .’ (Luke 4:18-19). He longed for people to be healed in body, mind and spirit, and in fulfilling this manifesto he met all kinds of people in all sorts of places.  However, crowded or under pressure, he always has time for people, and he never turned anyone away. Do I have time for others?

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LEARNING TO BE FREE: Jesus finds himself in a difficult predicament, but makes smart moves and tides over the situation. Big crowds that are not just listeners but people with real needs, follow him. Jesus attracts such a flowing since He truly is a leader with a difference. He expresses warmth and care in His interactions. His words radiate a presence that transmits life. He stands different from the popular notion of a messiah, a marauding emperor or conquering king, mighty and powerful. He presents a different notion of a Messiah: servant that is full of self-sacrifice and unconditional love; culminating on the cross. At a time when the digital technology has exploded, and humans seem to shrink into themselves hooked to their gadgets, what does Jesus say? We are challenged to have an interest in people rather than in gadgets. Let us draw our lessons from a Saviour who engages people, who is at home with the crowds and spends all he has for their well-being.