20 January, 2022. Thursday of Week 2 in Ordinary Time

20 January, 2022. Thursday of Week 2 in Ordinary Time


Optional Memorials: St Fabian; St Sebastian

1st Reading: 1 Samuel 18:6-9, 19:1-7

Saul’s jealousy threatens David, but Jonathan helps to reconcile them

As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they made merry, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day on.

Saul spoke with his son Jonathan and with all his servants about killing David. But Saul’s son Jonathan took great delight in David. Jonathan told David, “My father Saul is trying to kill you; therefore be on guard tomorrow morning; stay in a secret place and hide yourself. I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you; if I learn anything I will tell you.” Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him, “The king should not sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have been of good service to you; for he took his life in his hand when he attacked the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced; why then will you sin against an innocent person by killing David without cause?” Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan; Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” So Jonathan called David and related all these things to him. Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

Responsorial: Psalm 55:2-3, 9-14

Response: In God I trust; I shall not fear

Have mercy on me, God, men crush me;
they fight me all day long and oppress me.
My foes crush me all the day long,
for many fight proudly against me.

You have kept an account of my wanderings;
you have kept a record of my tears;
(are they not written in your book?)
Then my foes will be put to flight
on the day I call to you.

This I know, that God is on my side.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not fear;
what can mortal man do to me?

I am bound by the vows I have made you.
O God, I will offer you praise
for you rescued my soul from death,
you kept my feet from stumbling
that I may walk in the presence of God
in the light of the living.

Gospel: Mark 3:7-12

Throngs around Jesus. Unclean spirits cry out in his presence

Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around 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 for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.


May your words, O Lord, be on my lips and in my heart. May they guide my life and keep me near to you.

Banishing resentment

The brief pact between Saul and David failed to remove Saul’s jealousy and hostility. The Pharisees’ anger is fanned to hatred by the crowd’s enthusiasm for Jesus. As men and women of faith, our life is a pilgrimage to ultimate union with God. Jesus has gone ahead of us, “beyond the veil,” back to the Father. We may want a close friendship with Jesus and yet feel burdened by his demands. We experience some tensions and turbulence in our social relationships too. While loving our relatives and friends, we sometimes have to resist some jealousy or resentment in their regard.

It is good to recognize the tensions between our faith and our practice. Trusting in God, we can accept as true what we cannot prove or see. We rely on faith that the goal of life lies beyond our present existence. Tension and conflict can lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves, even to a new level of wisdom. Things are not always as they seem. Some (like King Saul) who seem strong and powerful may prove to be only an illusory passing shadow. What seems to be the shallow fervour of the crowd may be the sound instinct of faith. Only when we see the face of God will we know the whole truth, even as we are known by him.

The people who crowded around Jesus were not all Jews, for many had come from Idumea, Transjordania, Tyre and Sidon. They all felt burdened in some way. As Mark says, “all who were afflicted in any way were crowding forward to touch him.” Jesus describes himself as a healer who came not for the healthy but for the sick.

We can identify with the people who took the trouble to come crowding around Jesus. We need him as they did, because what he offers is not available from any other source. That is why we seek him, knock on his door, want him to touch us. We reach out to him as the one who can satisfy our deepest hunger. A special way of letting him help us is by sharing in the Eucharist, which is “broken bread for a broken people.”

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