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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (1Sam 18:6-9; 19:1-7): When David and Saul approached (on David’s return after slaying the Philistine), women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums. The women played and sang: «Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands». Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought: «They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship». And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David. Saul discussed his intention of killing David with his son Jonathan and with all his servants.

But Saul’s son Jonathan, who was very fond of David, told him: «My father Saul is trying to kill you. Therefore, please be on your guard tomorrow morning; get out of sight and remain in hiding. I, however, will go out and stand beside my father in the countryside where you are, and will speak to him about you. If I learn anything, I will let you know». Jonathan then spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him: «Let not your majesty sin against his servant David, for he has committed no offense against you, but has helped you very much by his deeds. When he took his life in his hands and slew the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel through him, you were glad to see it. Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood by killing David without cause?».

Saul heeded Jonathan’s plea and swore, «As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed». So Jonathan summoned David and repeated the whole conversation to him. Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and David served him as before.
Responsorial Psalm: 55
R/. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Have mercy on me, O God, for men trample upon me; all the day they press their attack against me. My adversaries trample upon me all the day; yes, many fight against me.

My wanderings you have counted; my tears are stored in your flask; are they not recorded in your book? Then do my enemies turn back, when I call upon you.

Now I know that God is with me. In God, in whose promise I glory, in God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?

I am bound, O God, by vows to you; your thank offerings I will fulfill. For you have rescued me from death, my feet, too, from stumbling; that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
Versicle before the Gospel (2Tim 1:10): Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 3:7-12): Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of 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. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.

“A large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon”

Fr. Melcior QUEROL i Solà (Ribes de Freser, Girona, Spain)

Today, with the baptisms by John in the Jordan still recent, we should all remember the kind of conversion brought about as a result of our baptism. We have all been baptized into one Lord, into one only faith, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1Co 12:13). This is the aim of unity: to form a single body, to be a single unity in Christ, so that the world may believe.

In today's Gospel we see “A large crowd from Galilee followed him" and "a great number of people” coming from other places surrounded the Lord (cf. Mk 3:7-8). And He paid heed to all, procuring, without exception, their good. We have to keep this in mind during the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Let us realize how, throughout the centuries, we Christians have divided ourselves into Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans and a long list of other Christian confessions. This evidences a historic sin against one of the essential points of our Church: its unity.

But, let us face today's ecclesial reality: Our bishoprics, our parishes, our Christian groups and associations. Are we truly "One"? Will this type of unity really be a motive for conversion for those who are away from the Church? “That they also may be in us, that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21), pleaded Jesus to the Father. Our challenge is that the others may see a group of believers united to one another, gathered by the Holy Spirit, under the Church of Christ: “All the believers were one in heart and mind.” (cf. Acts 4:32-34).

Let us remember that, the unity of the Assembly must be manifested as a fruit of the Eucharist —as well as the union of each one with Jesus— since we feed on the same Bread to be one body. Therefore, what the sacraments stand for, and the graces they contain, demand we work towards communion with all people. Our conversion is to the Unity of the Trinity (which is a gift from Heaven), and our sanctifying task cannot avert the gestures of communion, understanding, welcome and forgiveness towards others.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “This is the way in which we find our Saviour: Jesus Christ. By Him we look up to the heights of heaven. By Him we behold, as in a glass, His immaculate and most excellent visage.” (Saint Clement of Rome)

  • “His person [Jesus] is nothing but love. The signs he works, especially in favour of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy.” (Francis)

  • “By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death, Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 549)