Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday word, 18 Jan 2008

First Friday of the Year (18 Jan 2008) 1Sm 8. 4-7,10-22a; Ps 89; Mk 2. 1-12
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Parallel Stories

The era of the judges came to its end and the era of kings began. It came from all the elders of the people, as we heard them entreat Samuel, “appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”

Who formed the Hebrews into a people? God. Who liberated them from Egypt? God. Who guided them and provided for their needs? God. They help us appreciate what Samuel discerned God communicate to him, “It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.”

In a way people rejecting God is the story scriptures tell: As they have treated me constantly from the day I brought them up from Egypt to this day, deserting me and worshiping strange gods, so did they treat Samuel. The scriptures tell parallel story: God always longs for and desires to save us. The need to have a king blinded the people to their complaints against kings when they had them. It blinded them to God’s provident care for them.

The greater, indeed the more real, care God provides is always a challenge for us to keep before us. God’s passionate concern for us is not as easily available to us as are the daily drudgeries and the ways we seek and even find to assist us to cope with them. Yet, we know well that even the smoothest running household or business and the less complicated life do not guarantee us happiness and fulfillment.

When we are in right relationship with the others, the world and with God, we are truly happy, and we feel more alive. Jesus came to allow people to stand in right relationship again.
On our own we are unable to stand in right relationship with others, the world and God. The word sin summarizes our human inability. Sin also names powers inimical to humans and to God, powers which beguile us into thinking we can stand in right relationship on our own. Jesus is the Stronger One, who continues to exert his power to free us from sin and empower us to stand again in right relationship no matter how frequent our failings or present our weakness.
/1/ Verse 8, omitted from the first reading.
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