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5th Week, Friday: Feb 14th - Reflection & Liturgy

1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19 / Mark 7:31-37

The twelve tribes split: Solomon’s sins affected the people.

One of the most critical battles in history was the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium in 1813. Had the outcome of that battle been different, the history of the world may have been quite different. At Waterloo,. England’s Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon and his French army.
Wellington had great respect for Napoleon. He is reported to have said that Napoleon’s presence on the battlefield was worth 40,000 soldiers. For better or for worse, our leaders have a great impact on us.
We see this in the case of Solomon. Much of the blame for the split-up of the twelve tribes of Israel was due to him.
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What kind of an impact are we having on our own families by Our leadership or our lack or it? “Our chief want in life is someone who shall make us do what we can.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
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A breakup or a separation is usually an emotionally draining affair. Probably scorching words were used with the parties involved being angry and hurt.

And after it is over, no one would want to talk about it or hear about it anymore. As much as there are resentment and bitterness, there is no point in opening up those wounds anymore.

In the 1st reading, we hear of how Israel was separated from the House of David. The prophet Ahijah simply tore his new cloak into twelve strips and gave ten strips to Jeroboam, and that was the sign of the separation.

Not much was said, but there was also not much worth hearing. The people brought this on themselves and there is nothing they could say to bring the nation back together again.

In the gospel, we heard of Jesus healing a deaf man who also had an impediment in his speech.

But the man is also a symbol of the people of God, a people who are deaf to the voice of the Lord and whose mouths do not give the Lord glory and praise.

In healing the man's deafness and his speech impediment, Jesus showed that He came so as to open the ears of the people so that they can listen to the voice of the Lord and not harden their hearts.

Jesus came to open their mouths so that they can sing praises to the Lord and give thanks for His wonderful deeds.

When we sin, we separate ourselves from God and we close our ears to the voice of God and no prayer comes from our mouths.

Jesus came to forgive and to save and turn our hearts back to God, so that our ears can hear again what the Lord our God has to say to us and with our mouths we will respond with praise and thanksgiving.
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Friday of 5th Week: Liturgy


ABLE TO HEAR

Introduction
Wise as he was before, Solomon in his later years became deaf to God; this was the cause of the division of his kingdom.
A sign that Jesus is the Promised Savior is that he first goes to the poor, the sick, the marginalized people, for they need him most. Not only material poverty is meant. The deaf and the mute, the hard of hearing and the stammers are we who are shut up within ourselves, often closed to God and to one another. Jesus comes to open our ears and mouths to the words and deeds of God, that we may listen to his message and respond to his love, and that we may also hear those who are poor and speak to them. Note that this miracle too happens in pagan territory. Let Jesus in the Eucharist heal us and commit us to God and people.

Opening Prayer
Our saving God,
Jesus your Son made those who were deaf hear
and those who were dumb speak.
Make us see that often we are stutterers
and hard of hearing.
Open our ears to the message of your Son
that it may stir our hearts and change our lives.
Loosen our tongues to proclaim
the great things you do for us
through your Son, Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Savior for ever.

Commentary
The kingdom of David, at this early stage, is about to be divided in two. In a symbolic action, the prophet Ahijah tears his cloak into twelve pieces. Only one piece will go to Solomon’s legitimate heir. The other eleven pieces, signifying the remaining eleven tribes of Israel, will form a new kingdom, greater in number and in size than Judah in the south. The sign was an omen of troubles to come. Rebellion was close at hand; the house of David would be assailed. The short-lived United Kingdom was approaching its end.
The prophetic word had already come to Solomon. There had been sufficient warning. But it was also clear that to reject the teaching of Yahweh was to invite disaster.
Can we honestly say that we have never understood God’s moral guidance? Hardly, though it may help to have a spiritual guide or director to assist us in discerning God’s will. We should try to choose a person who is well equipped to understand us, to help us hold a mirror to ourselves, even if the counsel we receive is not what we expected.
The man in the Gospel today had trouble communicating. Jesus corrects the deficit. If we have trouble understanding, by turning to God or a spiritual director, the message will become clearer. It is always worth the effort.

Points to Ponder
Listening to what God asks
Hearing impairment
The role of a spiritual director

Intercessions
– For the Church, that we may not only love the poor and care for them, but also protest with courage when they are trampled upon, we pray:
– For educators in the faith – priests, sisters, catechists, teachers – that they themselves may listen to God’s word, and then pass it on with conviction and love, we pray:
– For those who are deaf and blind to other people and to their love and needs, that their eyes and hearts may be opened to the treasures of love and sharing, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord, our God, merciful Father,
you set the table of your Son
for rich and poor alike.
By the strength of this bread of life,
do not allow us to remain deaf
to your voice crying out
in the needs of the poor and the oppressed.
Teach us and help us to speak to them
not just words of pity
but deeds of justice, dignity and love.
May this be the sign
that your Son is alive among us,
he who is our Lord and Savior for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Saving God,
in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have chosen
what is poor and weak in this world,
to be rich in faith and love
and to be heirs to your kingdom.
Jesus did all things well.
Speak through us who were once
faint-hearted and tongue-tied
deeds of mercy and hope,
for you have healed and freed us all
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Blessing
Jesus has been with us in this Eucharistic celebration to bring us out of our isolation and to open us, in respect and love, to God and to our neighbor, that is, to all. Like Jesus, may we become available particularly to the poorest among us and let them feel that, with God, we too care. May Almighty God give you this openness and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.