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2nd Week, Thursday: Reflections & Liturgy

1 Sam 18:6-9; 19:1-7 / Mark 3:7-12

Saul plots to kill David: Jonathan saved David’s life.

Dr. Joseph Matarazzo was once the head of the medical psychology department of the University of Oregon.
The Associated Press quoted him as having said that “more psychotherapy is accomplished between good friends at coffee every morning at ten o’clock than all day long in doctors’ offices.” Dr. Matarazzo says that a good talk with a good friend is what is most needed when things get tough. The trouble, he says, is the “scarcity” of good friends in today’s world. The conversation between Jonathan and David in today’s reading is a good illustration of what Dr. Matarazzo was talking about.
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Do we have a friend to whom we can turn in times of need? Are we such a friend to others? “A loyal friend is like a safe shelter; find one, and you have found a treasure.” Sirach 6:14
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To be happy for another person's achievements would certainly mean that we have a big and humble heart.

But it is not that easy to cheer and rejoice with someone for what they have achieved.

Not only have we to keep our envy and jealousy under control, if that person is our junior or subordinate, and yet that person performs better than us, then that can be really challenging.

We might just give in to making snide remarks to even more malicious actions like sabotage just to discredit that person or putting him down, even though it won't benefit us at all.

That was the situation with king Saul and what he thought of David, and jealousy turned into a desire to kill David.

Certainly, envy and jealousy are hungry evil twins that eat up our hearts and turn us into destroyers and killers. Such was the case with king Saul.

That makes us reflect on the times when we have been envious and jealous of others for their success and achievements.

When we are aware that we have such feelings, then we must realize that it is an evil thing within that is destroying us and also making us destroy others.

And Jesus will help us to control those evil feelings. In the gospel, the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Jesus, would fall down and be tormented.

When we are aware of the feelings of envy and jealousy gripping our hearts, let us turn to Jesus and let Him cast them out.

Let us ask Jesus to make our hearts clean so that we can rejoice with the success of others and be happy for those who have made achievements.
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LITURGY

JESUS CHRIST, MEDIATOR, HEALER   

Introduction    David’s victory over Goliath and the praise that the people give him become for Saul the reason to become very jealous of David. Saul’s son Jonathan, a close friend of David, pleads for him and can temporarily refrain Saul from harming David.  In the Gospel, Mark gives a summary of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. Yesterday, we heard how the Pharisees are blind to him and attack him on legal points; the crowds flock to him because of his healing power, not so much to be converted. The demons know who Jesus is, but, of course, they do not believe in him. Here, we have different attitudes, but no faith yet. This is why, perhaps, Mark imposes silence on the spirits. We offer this Eucharist together with Christ, our only Savior and Mediator, who always intercedes for us.  

Opening Prayer   
God, our Father, through your Son, Jesus Christ, you brought healing to your people and came to bind us to you in a lasting covenant of love. May we not only admire his saving power but accept him in faith as our brother, your Son, our Lord and Savior. Make him the ground and meaning of our lives and fill us with his Holy Spirit, that we may build up among us your kingdom and a community of faith, hope and love. We ask you this through Christ, our Lord.

Commentary
As we continue our readings from the Book of Samuel, features of Saul’s unsavory character come more and more to the fore. David’s reputation as a warrior has increased, with the result that the people are giving him more acclaim than Saul. This infuriates the king, who sees it as a threat to his position. David himself has done nothing to merit such a negative sentiment. He is a faithful servant in the king’s court.
The figure of Saul’s son, Jonathan, stands in sharp contrast to that of his father. Knowing of his father’s intention to kill David, he allays his father’s fears, and David, at least for the moment, is free of worry. Envy is a very destructive vice, tearing at the fabric of our own character and doing damage as well to the good name of others. We begin with the recognition that we all have gifts that complement those of others. Envy, instead of seeing the good in others, sets us on a collision course. It is repeatedly mentioned in the New Testament. It is the “green-eyed monster” of Shakespeare’s Othello. Friendship, on the other hand, is a great gift of God. Our true friends may not be numerous, but each one is a treasure. A friend, said A. J. Cronin, is one in whose presence it is not necessary to say a word. We ask the Lord today to help us eradicate any shade of envy from our lives. At the same time, we pray for our friends and are grateful for all they mean to us.

Points to Ponder
Saul’s jealousy
The friendship of Jonathan
Gratitude for our personal gifts

Intercessions
– That today many find Jesus and deeply believe in him, we pray:
– That Jesus may touch the hearts of many and heal them from their selfishness, we pray:
– That all the Churches that claim Christ as their head may find unity in him, even if the road is long and difficult, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father, we offer you the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, and our only mediator. May he intercede for us, your people, and bind us forever to you in a covenant of lasting friendship and fidelity, that we may belong to you as the people you have saved through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
God our Father, in this Eucharist your Son, Jesus, has brought before you our prayers, our good intentions, and also our weakness, our hesitant faith. Yet, we are sure you accept us
because of him, our only priest and mediator. Make our faith and love grow, that your Son may be the Lord of our lives, your saving presence, and we your faithful people, now and for ever.

Blessing

Many have heard about Jesus and his message. Yet, some do not believe. The way we live should confirm our faith, even though faith is a free gift, a grace from God. May Almighty God give you faith, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.