Friday 20 January 2023 – Be with him


1st Reading: Heb 8: 6-13      

Brothers and sisters: Now our high priest has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.  For if that first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second one.  But he finds fault with them and says: Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they did not stand by my covenant and I ignored them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts.  I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know me, from least to greatest.  For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more. When he speaks of a “new” covenant, he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing.

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.

that they might be with him…: We learn from the Old and New Testament, the great significance of the mountain as a place of encounter with God. Jesus goes up to the mountain and then summons those whom he wanted. He called them that they might “be with him” and that he might send them forth to preach”. Their first mission is to “be with him’, to be members of his new community, to be his friends, to share his life. It is not accidental that Jesus called by name, those he wanted, first to be with him. The mission of preaching to others was only possible if they themselves had shared his life. Communion with Jesus is at the foundation of our Christian vocation. The mission of preaching is only a witness to the communion we have with the Father in the Son.

Prayer: Lord help us to live in communion with you so that our life and words may witness to your love and compassion. Amen.


THEY CAME TO HIM: In the first reading, God deliveres Saul into the hands of David. Following the enemity between the two, David would have been justified to harm his enemy. However, his response challenges our degree of forgiveness and our desire to see God’s goodness in others – how can I lay my hand against the anointed of the Lord? We too, in baptism and in confirmation, are anointed and therefore protected. We also receive further anointing when we are severely sick. Since our priests are anointed, do we fight or protect them? Do we also fight or protect the anointed ones; the priests and other church ministers? Unfortunately, we often raise our hands against the anointed of the Lord in different ways, against those with whom we share the anointing. As Christians, we have been called by Jesus, the way he called the apostles. We are called to do his Will. May we learn to respect the anointed.

Prayer: Lord, help us to respect our fellow anointed ones, support each other in our call to holiness.


VISION OF A NEW DAWN: A young girl overwhelmed by the setbacks in life decided to commit suicide. She looked for a clean sheet of paper to write a suicide note. In her search she chanced upon an old, faded greeting card with the title “Hope”. It had the image of a young man playing a guitar which had just single string. A wave of emotions swept over her; if this man can produce heart touching music on just a single string, what can I not achieve? Determined to live, she rose up ready to fight. In Moses, we see a strong desire and this time it is to do God’s will. Moses meets God on the mountain. Elijah too, determined to do God’s will gets strength from God on a mountain. Also on a mountain, Jesus calls His Twelve to join His mission. Jesus picks these ordinary people and tasks them. In joining the invitation and led by hope and motivated with His proximity let us be co- builders of the Kingdom of God. Let us be determined to do God’s will and listen to His call in the mountains of our lives.


JESUS WENT UP THE MOUNTAIN: Jesus went up the mountain like Moses. As Moses formed a new nation with the 12 tribes of Israel, Jesus founds a new community with the 12 apostles. Moses gave them the law. Jesus’ agenda for this community is different: to “be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” The starting point is to be him; to have a personal encounter with him. This is the core of the community. Going out, preaching, and overcoming evil in the society are only an overflow of that experience of “being with him.” Whatever be my specific vocation in the Church, do I reduce my role in the Church as doing things or am I able to focus on being-with-him!