DAILY MASS READINGS (January 21, 2020)

MEMORIAL OF ST. AGNES, VIRGIN AND MARTYR (YEAR I, Red)

Reading 1 (1 SAMUEL 16:1-13)

A reading from the 1st Book of Samuel

The LORD said to Samuel:
“How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
But Samuel replied:
“How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me.”
To this the LORD answered:
“Take a heifer along and say,
‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
“Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”
He replied:
“Yes!  I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
“The LORD has not chosen this one either.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There–anoint him, for this is he!”  
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 89:20, 21-22, 27-28)

R.    (21a)  I  have found David, my servant.
Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth.”
R.    I  have found David, my servant.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R.    I  have found David, my servant.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
And I will make him the first-born,
highest of the kings of the earth.”
R.    I  have found David, my servant.

Alleluia (EPHESIANS 1:17-18)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MARK 2:23-28)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: For the Jews, the Sabbath is the most important day in their tradition, which they celebrate every Saturdays. It commemorates the seventh day of creation when God rested after forming the world and the Passover when God allowed his people to escape from slavery in Egypt. That is why he commanded that these two events would be honored during a special day of rest, the Sabbath. As the time passes by, the Jewish leaders restricted the Law of the Sabbath. And In the Gospel (Mark 2:23-28), they caught Jesus and his Apostles picking grain in the field during the holy day. But Jesus quoted a passage from the Old Testament, wherein King David and his men asked from Ahimelech, the priest of Nob, some bread for them to eat. He took some of it from the altar of God, although the priests only have the authority to touch it. But this was a special case because they are dying of hunger (Cf. 1 Samuel 21:2-8). Then Jesus concludes: “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath” (Mark 2:28). For us Christians, the Sabbath is not only for refraining from too much work, but it is also doing the little good deeds for others. This was fulfilled when Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday because he performed the ultimate sacrifice once and for all. And that is why we celebrate the Holy Eucharist every Sundays and Holy Days. They don’t only serve as obligations, but also as adorations. When we attend Mass, we should also live the values of this celebration because is in the heart of a person that God looks into. It is in the heart of God that the young David has been anointed King of Israel by the Prophet Samuel in the First Reading (1 Samuel 16:1-13). Among the 8 sons of Jesse, God chooses this shepherd boy, the youngest of them, to succeed the disobedient King Saul in shepherding the Israelites. As we journey down this road, let us manifest the dignity of the Christian Sabbath, to rest our souls by the virtue of the Eucharist and to perform good works to our brothers and sisters.

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