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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday 2nd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Sam 17:32-33.37.40-51): David spoke to Saul: «Let your majesty not lose courage. I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine». But Saul answered David, «You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth». David continued: «The Lord, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear, will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine». Saul answered David, «Go! the Lord will be with you».

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag. With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine. With his shield bearer marching before him, the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David. When he had sized David up, and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance, the Philistine held David in contempt. The Philistine said to David, «Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?». Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods and said to him, «Come here to me, and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field».

David answered him: «You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the Lord shall deliver you into my hand; I will strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will leave your corpse and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field; thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God. All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves. For the battle is the Lord’s and he shall deliver you into our hands».

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine. David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell prostrate on the ground. Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword. Then David ran and stood over him; with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath he dispatched him and cut off his head.
Responsorial Psalm: 143
R/. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.

My refuge and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust, who subdues my people under me.

O God, I will sing a new song to you; with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise, you who give victory to kings, and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 4:23): Alleluia. Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 3,1-6): Again Jesus entered the synagogue. A man who had a paralyzed hand was there and some people watched Jesus: Would he heal the man on the sabbath? If he did they could accuse him. Jesus said to the man with the paralyzed hand, «Stand here in the center». Then he asked them, «What does the Law allow us to do on the sabbath? To do good or to do harm? To save life or to kill?». But they were silent. Then Jesus looked around at them with anger and deep sadness because they had closed their minds. And he said to the man, «Stretch out your hand». He stretched it out and his hand was healed. But as soon as the Pharisees left, they met with Herod's supporters, looking for a way to destroy Jesus.

«What does the Law allow us to do on the sabbath? To do good or to do harm? To save life or to kill?»

Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García (Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Jesus tells us we must always do good: there is no such thing as a time to do good and a time to overlook our love for others. The love we get through God brings us to the supreme Law, Jesus left with us, in the new commandment: «Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another» (Jn 13:34). Jesus neither repeals nor criticizes Moses' Law, inasmuch as He is the first one to comply with its precepts and go to the synagogue on the Sabbath; what Jesus criticizes is the narrow minded version of the Law by its masters and the Pharisees, an interpretation leaving little room for mercy.

Jesus Christ has come to proclaim the Gospel of salvation, but his antagonists, far from being convinced, seek all kind of pretexts against him: «A man who had a paralyzed hand was there and some people watched Jesus: Would He heal the man on the Sabbath? If He did they could accuse him.» (Mk 3:1-2). At the same time as we witness the power of grace, we also see how hardhearted, those boastful men who though they had the truth on their side, were. Were those Pharisees joyful upon realizing that poor man had been cured hand? Certainly not, rather on the contrary, they were even more blinded, to the point of rushing to make a deal with Herod's supporters —their natural foes— looking for a way to destroy Jesus. Some alliance!

With his action, Jesus also removes the chains with which the masters of the Law and the Pharisees had constrained the Sabbath while conferring it its true meaning: the day of communion between God and man, the day of liberation from slavery, the day of salvation from evil forces. Saint Augustin tells us: «He who has peace in the conscience, is peaceful, and this very peace is his heart's Sabbath». With Jesus Christ, the Sabbath already opens up to the gift of Sunday.

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