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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday 1st in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Sam 1:1-8): There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Elkanah by name, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless. This man regularly went on pilgrimage from his city to worship the Lord of hosts and to sacrifice to him at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were ministering as priests of the Lord.

When the day came for Elkanah to offer sacrifice, he used to give a portion each to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters, but a double portion to Hannah because he loved her, though the Lord had made her barren. Her rival, to upset her, turned it into a constant reproach to her that the Lord had left her barren.

This went on year after year; each time they made their pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Lord, Peninnah would approach her, and Hannah would weep and refuse to eat. Her husband Elkanah used to ask her: «Hannah, why do you weep, and why do you refuse to eat? Why do you grieve? Am I not more to you than ten sons?».
Responsorial Psalm: 115
R/. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.

My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all his people. Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones. O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds.

My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, o Jerusalem.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mk 1:15): Alleluia. The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 1,14-20): After John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee and began preaching the Good News of God. He said, «The time has come; the kingdom of God is at hand. Change your ways and believe the Good News». As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, «Follow me, and I will make you fish for people». At once, they left their nets and followed Him. Jesus went a little farther on and saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee; they were in their boat mending their nets. Immediately, Jesus called them and they followed Him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men.

«Change your ways and believe the Good News»

Fr. Joan COSTA i Bou (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel invites us to change: «Change your ways and believe the Good News» (Mk 1:15). Change to what? It would perhaps be better to say, to whom? To Christ! This is how He said it: «Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me» (Mk 10:37). To change means to gratefully receive the gift of Faith and live a life of love and service. To change means to accept Christ as our only Lord and King of our hearts, so that we become a useful servant to Him. To change implies discovering Christ in every event in human history —and in our own personal history too— while realizing He is the origin, the core and the end of all History and that everything has been redeemed by Him and, in Him, everything attains its maximum plenitude. To change also implies living with hope, for He has defeated Sin, the Evil One and Death, and the Eucharist is His guarantee.

To change also involves loving Our Lord more than anything else in this world, with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength. To change postulates to deliver our intelligence and our will to Him, in such a way that the Episcopal motto of the Holy Father, John Paul II, Totus tuus, that is, All yours, my God, is made true by our lives. And all, means time, qualities, possessions, illusions, projects, health, family, work, leisure, everything. Therefore, to change requires to love God's will in Christ over all things while enjoying it, which means to be grateful for whatever He may care to send us, even if it is contradictions, humiliations or ailments, and take them as treasures which allow us express more clearly our love for God: if You want it like that, so do I!

As it happened with the apostles Simon, Andrew, James and John, changing means to leave «immediately the nets» and follow Him (cf. Mk 1:18), once we hear His voice. To change, after all, is that Christ be everything for us.

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