READINGS for 2008-02-05

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

 

WHAT HAVE YOU bEEN TOLD?
 
Jesus paid no attention to what they said, but told him, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” – Mark 5:36
 
Have you ever hoped against all hope?
        Normally, real dreams and true aspirations that God has put in our hearts are tested by “voices” born out of our fragmented, wounded selves. Whenever we start out on a purpose that God has graciously entrenched and lovingly cultivated in us, these voices come out of the woodwork and rear their ugly heads, saying:
        It’s too hard. You can’t do it. You aren’t good enough. It won’t work anyway, so why bother?
        In today’s Gospel, Jairus is on his way to fulfill a desire — to have his daughter healed from a terrible sickness. But people within his own household began telling the synagogue official to give up hope, for his daughter has died.
        But Jesus, aware of the deceit, remains steadfast in His love when he says, “Everything will be alright.”
        Friends, if God is with us, who then, can be against us? In the midst of all the voices around you, listen to the silent, calming voice of the Lord that says, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” Red Cerrer
 
REFLECTION:
Which voice do you listen to more often, the voice of the world or the voice of God?
 
Lord, teach me to believe in myself the way You believe in me.
 
St. Agatha, virgin and martyr, pray for us.
 
COMPANION

 

 1st READING
 
 
David mourns the death of his son, Absalom, though it is most unlikely that the latter would have mourned his death. Even though Absalom had sought to kill him, David still has the love of a father for his son. Here we see the true heart of David, a heart after God himself. Here David displays a purity of heart we should all seek to imitate.
 
2 Samuel 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30-19:3
9 Absalom unexpectedly came up against David’s servants. He was mounted on a mule, and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large terebinth, his hair caught fast in the tree. He hung between heaven and earth while the mule he had been riding ran off. 10 Someone saw this and reported to Joab that he had seen Absalom hanging from a terebinth. 14 And taking three pikes in hand, he thrust for the heart of Absalom, still hanging from the tree alive. 24 Now David was sitting between the two gates, and a lookout mounted to the roof of the gate above the city wall, where he looked about and saw a man running all alone. 25 The lookout shouted to inform the king, who said, “If he is alone, he has good news to report.” As he kept coming nearer, 30 The king said, “Step aside and remain in attendance here.” So he stepped aside and remained there. 31 When the Cushite came in, he said, “Let my lord the king receive the good news that this day the LORD has taken your part, freeing you from the grasp of all who rebelled against you.” 32 But the king asked the Cushite, “Is young Absalom safe?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rebel against you with evil intent be as that young man!” 19: 1 The king was shaken, and went up to the room over the city gate to weep. He said as he wept, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” 2 Joab was told that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom; 3 and that day’s victory was turned into mourning for the whole army when they heard that the king was grieving for his son.
 
P S A L M
 
Psalm 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R: Listen, Lord, and answer me.
1 Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me, for I am afflicted and poor. 2 Keep my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God. (R) 3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for to you I call all the day. 4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. (R) 5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. 6 Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer and attend to the sound of my pleading. (R)
 
G O S P E L
 
The woman with the hemorrhage believes that only to touch the clothes of Jesus will be sufficient to heal her. This demonstrates a remarkable depth of faith which is rewarded with her healing. The inclusion of her story within that of the healing of Jairus’s daughter tells us that it is faith such as this that God desires us all to have. It is faith such as this that can open the floodgates of the Lord’s blessings into our lives.
 
Mark 5:21-43
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. 22 One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” 24 He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. 25 There was a woman afflicted with  hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. 28 She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” 29 Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” 31 But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” 35 While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” 36 Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” 37 He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. 41 He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” 104 which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” 42 The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. [At that] they were utterly astounded. 43 He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
 
my reflections
think:God desires us to have faith like that of the woman with the hemorrhage. It is faith such as this that can open the floodgates of the Lord’s blessings into our lives.
 
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
 
Saint Valentine
 
The story of Valentine’s Day dates back to the third century.
 
Under Emperor Claudius of Rome, men were expected to volunteer and join the army to fight in wars. Unfortunately, many did not join because of the pain of leaving their wives and children. Emperor Claudius thought that if these men were not married, they would not mind joining the army; thus, he forbade marriage throughout his kingdom.
 
However, a priest by the name of Valentine did not follow this new ordinance. He continued to marry couples secretly. One night in a wedding ceremony, Fr. Valentine was arrested, put into prison and was sentenced to death. The priest, despite his condition, remained cheerful as young people came to visit, throw flowers and notes, and show support in his belief in love. One of these young people was the daughter of a prison guard. She would often visit and talk with him for hours. Thus, on the day of his execution, February 14, 269, the priest left his new friend a short note, thanking her for the friendship and loyalty. The note read, “Love from your Valentine.”
 
Thus, every year on February 14, young people, especially couples, remember St. Valentine’s sacrifice for love and friendship.
 
 
 
SaintS fauStinuS and JoVita
 
Faustinus and Jovita, patrons of the city of Brescia, were brothers of noble birth. They preached Christianity fearlessly and zealously that the heathen lord Julian ordered for their arrest. The two were tortured and dragged from Brescia to Milan, Rome and Naples, then back to Brescia. After which, both brothers were beheaded in 121 A.D. at Brescia, Lombardy, Italy.
 
 
 
Saint Walfrid della gheradeSCa
 
Walfrid della Gheradesca belonged to a wealthy family in Pisa, Italy. He was the eldest of five children. The man also had five or six children of his own.
 
Walfrid and his wife agreed to put up separate Benedictine monasteries in Pisa. He found his abbey of Palazzuolo with two other married men. His daughter Rattruda and son Gimfrid also joined the foundations. It was even recorded in the Acta Sanctorum that after 10 years of ruling the abbey, Gimfrid succeeded his father in the administration of the abbey.
 
There was no exact report on the death of Walfrid but legend has it that the saint and his wife died on February 15, 765 and were buried together.
 
 
 
SABBATH

 

please only God
 
I am always on a lookout for possible youth leaders. As Youth Director of our diocese, I know that the future of the Church lies in the hands of the youth. I once met someone whom I gladly considered as a good find—an honor student, articulate, had a good way with people and a regular Sunday Mass-goer. I immediately persuaded him to consider active church involvement. My intuition was promptly justified as this young man showed real talent and flair in pushing for a real animated and operative ministry. I never realized that the whole time that he was serving the Church, pressure from his peers had been mounting. Suddenly, he just decided to call it quits. He told me, “My friends just couldn’t dig seeing me ‘holy.’” I did not fully understand what he went through but still I let him go.
        “And they laughed at him ”—Ma r k describes the kind of response Jesus got from those who have come to witness one of His more spectacular miracles. I wonder how Jesus felt when people around mocked Him. All He came to do was to heal the child. But that appalling treatment did not stop Him from doing His mission.
       We all go through many rough situations as we serve God. I am reminded of the struggles some seminarians have related to me. Some of them have been ridiculed with words like, “Magpapari ka? A baka bakla, walang hilig sa babae.” Some lay missionaries are labeled as fools for bringing their whole families in unchartered mission territories. Successful professionals were regarded as fools for turning their backs on their lucrative careers. Other “faithful” suffer the same fate, too.
        Even if people laugh at us or mock us for doing things for God, always remember that we are not here to please people but God. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes
 
Reflection Question:
How affected are we by what the world perceives our faith to be?
 
Lord, give me the grace to focus only on You, that I may not be discouraged when I’m “rejected” by the world because of You.
 



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