Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday word, 14 Jan 2008

First Monday of the Year (14 Jan 2008) 1Sm 1. 1-8; Ps 116; Mk 1. 14-20
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
A Look Ahead

Through the 24th of this month daily mass readings are taken from the First Book of Samuel and the Gospel of Mark. I offer a few remarks to help you focus and to help you appreciate to what these selections we will hear at mass point.

The two Books of Samuel revolve around three main people: Samuel, Saul and David. The two Books of Samuel rehearse a century of history of the people Israel, who began as nomads but over time ceased wandering and grew from an agricultural to a town-centered people.

Following the death of Joshua, who was the lieutenant of Moses, they began to settle and judges wielded authority. Of the 15 judges, Eli and Samuel were the final two. The first readings of the next 10 weekdays begin this transition from leadership by judges to leader-ship by kings in Israel. Judges were military leaders with administrative authority, who also exercised some priestly functions.

The consistent temptation for the people Israel was to be like their neighbors, that is, to allow themselves to be swayed by ways and values other than the ways and values of God.

The selections from Mark’s gospel will lead us through its first three chapters. Listen for three patterns. One is the power Jesus manifested in healings of different kinds. Second is the positive response of some Jesus called, which we heard today. The last pattern is the opposite of the second: others rejected Jesus. These patterns shape the gospel of Mark: the one who proclaimed the good news came to his Passion.

This shape--the life of the one who announced the kingdom moved to his Passion--is not easy for us to accept. Keep alert to the ways Jesus invites you and more alert to how you respond, accepting or rejecting Jesus’ initial invitation. Our first response to Jesus cues us to the grace we ought to ask Jesus so that we won’t give in to temptations to put Jesus at the edge of our lives. Cooperating with his graces graft us into his mystery and enrich us in the process.
Wiki-image by Michal Ma┼łas of Samuel Greeting Saul is used under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 license.

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