08 Jan 24 – Monday of Week 1

08 Jan 24 – Monday of Week 1

1st Reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-8

Hannah’s grief at being childless; her husband tries to comfort her

There was a man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Now this man used to go up year by year from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

Responsorial: Psalm 115:12-19

R./: To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise

How can I repay the Lord
for his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise,
I will call on the Lord’s name. (R./)

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people.
O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful. (R./)

Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
you have loosened my bonds.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make;
I will call on the Lord’s name. (R./)

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem. (R./)

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

Jesus begins his mission and calls his first disciples

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea — for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught.


Handing on faith

The Scriptures begin where all of us begin, within family life, where we first find our hopes and possibilities. The Bible shows a healthy respect for the family as the nurturing place for faith. Samuel’s vocation to be a prophet began with his devout parents, as shown in today’s reading. But there are also times when one is called to go beyond the known and familiar, and launch out on a new vocation. Remember Abraham’s call, to “Leave your country and your father’s house, and go the land that I will show you.” So it was for those working fishermen, Simon and Andrew and their partners, whom Jesus called to leave their previous occupation and travel the country with him, spreading his special kind of faith to as many people as possible.

If at times Jesus may seem only vaguely present to us, he is still near and calling us to follow him as generously as they did. In the providence of God, we will have the ability and opportunity to spread that message. Those four Galilean fishermen were never the same again. And if Jesus says to us, “Follow me,” and we respond generously, our life’s fulfilment will be safe in his guiding hands.

A life-giving meeting

Any significant encounter between people can have life-giving effect. The meeting of Peter, Andrew, James and John with Jesus was such a life-giving moment for those fishermen. The kind of encounter they had at the lakeshore is offered to each of us. Jesus is not just a figure of history, belonging to the past. He is the living Lord, still present in his church and in the world, constantly calling out to us and meeting with us in the course of our day to day lives, as he met with Simon, Andrew, James and John while they were going about their work as fishermen.

The Lord meets us and speaks to us in various ways, especially in the Eucharist, in the Scriptures, through listening to others, listening to nature and listening to our own hearts. If we experience the good news of God’s unconditional love, we will also hear some kind of personal call to bring good news for others. In spirit, we are to bring Christ to the world, “I will make you fishers…” May we have the grace to respond to the Lord’s presence as did Peter, Andrew, James and John.

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