Saturday, August 17, 2019

Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 308

1st Reading – 1 SM 4:1-11

The Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel.
Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.
The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel.
After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines,
who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.
When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said,
“Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the LORD from Shiloh
that it may go into battle among us
and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”

So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there
the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.
When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.
The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked,
“What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”
On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were frightened.
They said, “Gods have come to their camp.”
They said also, “Woe to us! This has never happened before. Woe to us!
Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?
These are the gods that struck the Egyptians
with various plagues and with pestilence.
Take courage and be manly, Philistines;
otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews,
as they were your slaves.
So fight manfully!”
The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated;
every man fled to his own tent.
It was a disastrous defeat,
in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured,
and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25

R. (27b) Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Yet now you have cast us off and put us in disgrace,
and you go not forth with our armies.
You have let us be driven back by our foes;
those who hated us plundered us at will.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
You made us the reproach of our neighbors,
the mockery and the scorn of those around us.
You made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth.
R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

Alleluia – SEE MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Catholic Daily Reflections

It’s About Conversion, Not Popularity

The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere. Mark 1:44-45

The man who went away and “began to publicize the whole matter” did so understandably. He had been suffering from the awful disease of leprosy and most likely was losing hope. He came to Jesus, knelt down humbly before Him and expressed his profound faith. He said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus, of course, did wish to make him clean and immediately healed the leper.

What’s interesting is that, after healing the man, Jesus told him not to tell anyone. But, in his excitement, the man went off telling everyone. The result was that Jesus’ fame and reputation exploded and curiosity about Him spread everywhere. People sought Him out with such interest that, as this passage says above, “It was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.”

This story should naturally raise a few questions in our minds. One interesting fact to ponder is that Jesus appeared to have no interest in being “popular.” He could have easily went from town to town and, as He entered a new town, announced, “Attention everyone…I am here!” People would have immediately flocked to Him. But, instead of embracing His instant fame, He went off to deserted places. People came to Him in these hard-to-get-to deserted places.

Jesus went off to deserted places waiting for people to seek Him out because His life was all about fostering authentic conversion of souls, not cultural popularity. He wasn’t interested in the esteem of worldly opinion, He was only interested in changing hearts. Therefore, by withdrawing into deserted places, He was able to let the Father in Heaven bring to Him those who were open to authentic conversion.

The same is true with us. The “popular Jesus” is not always the “real Jesus.” In other words, the authentic Gospel message is not normally that which our popular culture will hold up as exciting. Jesus and His authentic Gospel message will not always make headlines in the national news. Rather, if we want to find Him, we must diligently seek Him in the hidden and quiet places where He waits for us.

Reflect, today, upon the image of Jesus waiting for you in the silence. Where is that silent “deserted place” in which He waits? Where is He waiting for you to come and meet Him? Seek Him out and when you do discover Him, you will be eternally grateful that you made the effort.

Lord, I do seek You, but I also realize that I never seek You enough. You are there, waiting for me in countless ways. You are calling me into a deeper silence and solitude. In the deserted places of life, You desire to minister to my soul. Help me to listen to You and to make the journey to You. And as I find You, help me to truly embrace the conversion of heart You have in mind for me. Jesus, I trust in You.

Our Audio Catholic Daily Readings are sourced from USCCB 

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About Laban Thua 1020 Articles
I am a Commissioned Liturgy Minister and also a Lector at Assumption of Mary Catholic Church. Am also a Commissioned Catholic Men Association (CMA), Member and a Lover of the Catholic Church and its teachings. My passion is disseminating the Catholic Daily Readings and Reflections, Bible Verse of the Day, Catholic Quote of the Day and Catholic Saint of the Day Information every day to all Catholic Faithfuls throughout the world.