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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (1Sam 24:3-21): Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel and went in search of David and his men in the direction of the wild goat crags. When he came to the sheepfolds along the way, he found a cave, which he entered to relieve himself. David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave. David’s servants said to him, «This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will deliver your enemy into your grasp; do with him as you see fit’». So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul’s mantle. Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off an end of Saul’s mantle. He said to his men, «The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, as to lay a hand on him, for he is the Lord’s anointed». With these words David restrained his men and would not permit them to attack Saul.

Saul then left the cave and went on his way. David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul, «My lord the king!». When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul: «Why do you listen to those who say, ‘David is trying to harm you?’. You see for yourself today that the Lord just now delivered you into my grasp in the cave. I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead. I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed and a father to me’. Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold. Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you, see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion. I have done you no wrong, though you are hunting me down to take my life. The Lord will judge between me and you, and the Lord will exact justice from you in my case. I shall not touch you. The old proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes forth wickedness’. So I will take no action against you. Against whom are you on campaign, o king of Israel? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, or a single flea! The Lord will be the judge; he will decide between me and you. May he see this, and take my part, and grant me justice beyond your reach!».

When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul answered, «Is that your voice, my son David?». And Saul wept aloud. Saul then said to David: «You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm. Great is the generosity you showed me today, when the Lord delivered me into your grasp and you did not kill me. For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed? May the Lord reward you generously for what you have done this day. And now, I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession».
Responsorial Psalm: 56
R/. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Have mercy on me, o God; have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. In the shadow of your wings I take refuge, till harm pass by.

I call to God the Most High, to God, my benefactor. May he send from heaven and save me; may he make those a reproach who trample upon me; may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.

Be exalted above the heavens, o God; above all the earth be your glory! For your mercy towers to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the skies.
Versicle before the Gospel (2Cor 5:19): Alleluia. God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 3:13-19): Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

“Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted”

Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater (Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel considers the theology of Christian vocation: “The Lord called those he wanted to be with him and sent them to be apostles” (cf. Mk 3:13-14). First, He calls them: For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy (cf. Eph 1:4). God loves us, shaping us in Christ, encouraging us to develop the characteristics necessary for us to become His children. These qualities are best understood when we consider them from a vocational perspective; vocation is the “role” in life that God's plan of redemption has allotted us so that we can fulfill our part in His work of redemption. Only by discovering your God-given vocation —the true reasons for your life— and by fulfilling it on His terms, will you come to know yourself as God knows you.

And what does God require of those He calls? He asks us to live close to Him as we serve Him, and in return, He promises to stay close to us. Yet, God speaks to each one of us individually and specifically. “One day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you lost your balance then and didn't recover it. Your complacency wasn't quite replaced by true peace until you freely said “yes” to God, because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you abandon him” (Saint Josemaria).

It is a blessing, but it is a blessing that can only be fully realized when we become holy through our willingness to serve, through prayer, and through the blessed sacraments. “All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity; by this holiness as such a more humane manner of living is promoted in this earthly society” (Second Vatican Council).

This is how we learn of our apostolic mission of taking Christ to others. Having Him ourselves first, so that we can share Him. Today, and every day, we must meditate upon the true nature of our call to vocation, answering His call with an increased love, born of our increased understanding of what He calls us to do and to be.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “‘I exhort you to present your bodies’ (Rom 12:1). By pleading in this manner the Apostle elevates all men to the dignity of the priesthood: to present our bodies as a living host.” (Saint Peter Chrysologus)

  • “Goodness always tends to spread. As it expands, goodness takes root and develops (…). In this regard, several sayings of Saint Paul will not surprise us: ‘The love of Christ urges us on’ (2 Cor 5:14); ‘Woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel’ (1 Cor 9:16).” (Francis)

  • “From the beginning of his public life Jesus chose certain men, twelve in number, to be with him and to participate in his mission. He gives the Twelve a share in his authority and ‘sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal’ (Lk 9:2) (…).” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 551)