DAILY MASS READINGS (January 20, 2020)

MONDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME/OPTIONAL MEMORIAL OF ST. SEBASTIAN, MARTYR (YEAR II, Green/Red)

Reading 1 (1 SAMUEL 15:16-23)

A reading from the 1st Book of Samuel

Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!”
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel:  “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
“Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23)

R.    (23b)  To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold.”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia (HEBREWS 4:12)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MARK 2:18-22)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
 but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: In the Gospel (Mark 2:18-22), the disciples of John and the of the Pharisees asked Jesus on why he and his Apostles don’t fast. For in fact, Jews consider fasting as one of their obligations to God. It is accustomed that they look gloomy when they fast. Jesus responds by placing a particular setting, a wedding feast. Just as the Bridegroom is taken away from the guests, Jesus is taken away from the Apostles to undergo his Passion and Death on the Cross. This caused a sad mood among the Twelve. But three days after, when he has risen from the dead, he appears to them and overjoyed they touch his wounds. Most of all, he ratified the Old Covenant (old wineskins) made from the blood of the animals and established the New Covenant (new wineskins) by the shedding of his own Blood. And everytime we celebrate the Eucharist, we reenact the same sacrifice not anymore by killing animals, but through our participation of the bread and wine, which are not only mere symbols, but are truly Christ’s Body and Blood. So he is present in every Mass we attend because he wants us to be spiritually nourished when we partake him in Holy Communion. That is why in the First Reading (1 Samuel 15:16-23), the Prophet Samuel reminds the disobedient King Saul that obedience to the Lord is beyyer than sacrifice. The former has been asked to fight the Amalekites and bring back the remains of the rulers, however Saul decides to offer sheep and oxen that the Lord never requires of him to do. Unlike Saul, Jesus is our merciful Intercessor who though divine, humbles himself into our human nature. And even though in Gethsemane he requests the burden to be taken away from him, he still willigly submits to the plan of God for our salvation from sin.
My dear brothers and sisters, when Lent comes in five weeks this year, fasting should not only appear somber as in mourning for the sufferings of Christ, but also a time of preparation for the Mystery of Redemption, wherein we shall experience joy on Easter Time as we commemorate his glorious Resurrection from the dead until the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles at Pentecost. And in this Season of Ordinary Time, let us focus on Jesus’ Public Life, wherein he preaches and shows love and mercy to the people. So as we journey down this road, let us honor our Lord Jesus Christ not only on special Feast days and Seasons, but always in our everyday lives. Let us listen to his words, follow his example, and obey the will of God the Father.

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