2nd Week, Wednesday: Reflection & Liturgy

1 Sam 17:32-33, 37, 40-51 / Mark 3:1-6

David demonstrates courage: David defeated Goliath.

Don Bell was an infantryman in France during World War II. He now makes his living as a cowboy in Byron, Wyoming. One of his favorite stories is about a fellow infantryman from West Virginia. A miner who came from a mining family, he always carried a little chip of coal in his pocket. Whenever the going got extra difficult, he’d reach into his pocket, squeeze the chip of coal in his hand, and say to himself, “If I can take the mines, I can take this.”
It always gave him the courage to go on.

Today’s reading shows that David, too, had the capacity to reach down inside himself and find the courage to do a difficult job.
What is the “piece of coal” that we squeeze and draw courage from when we need it? “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Anonymous
Does size really matter? On the one hand, of course size matters. Who wants a small cup of coffee? Yes, in those kinds of things, size matters. On the other hand, if size really mattered, then the elephant would be the king of the jungle, not the lion.

In the 1st reading, we hear of Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, a huge man, much bigger and taller than the ordinary man, maybe about 9 feet tall. Regardless of his precise height, he was a formidable opponent. He was not only tall, he was also strong. His bronze armour alone weighed 125 pounds (1 Samuel 17:5), and he carried a giant-sized spear (verse 7).

But with a sling and a stone, David brought down the mighty Goliath. Maybe it was David's courage, maybe his skill with the sling, but it was certainly "in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel".

So as much as size matters, in the case of David and Goliath, it was the size of the heart that mattered. and, of course who was directing the heart.
In the gospel, there were no giants with spears and swords to deal with. But Jesus had to deal with something more malicious - there were people watching Him to see if He would cure on the sabbath.

Jesus didn't give in to their small minds and small hearts, because their small minds and small hearts just have no space for the greatness and the goodness of Jesus. So, let us look into our hearts to see if our hearts can be opened to the greatness and goodness of God.

Let us keep our hearts big for God and for others. And when small minds and small hearts confront us, let us call up the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of heaven, so that we can bear witness to how great and good God is.

Wednesday of 2nd Week - liturgy


David and Goliath! A boy and a professional military leader. Often in the Bible, the weak are more powerful than the strong. What is weak and small attracts God’s strength. It is not really the underdog who beats the bragging man of violence, but God who makes his greatness known, for he is the God and Savior of his people.
We sometimes reduce our religion to a matter of casuistic laws: Is it permitted to heal on Sundays? When does it become a mortal sin if I am late for Mass? Is it wrong if I do not raise my hands for the Our Father? We sometimes behave like immature kids. God wants us to grow up in our faith. Where is the Good News of Jesus? Where is our love for the Lord and for people?

Opening Prayer
Gracious and holy God, you have chosen us to be your kingdom of peace and mature love. But we have to acknowledge with shame that there is still much room for growth. Make our love richer, more sensitive; Complete the work you have begun in us, that we may have a permanent place in your heart and reflect the adult, healing goodness of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Most of us know the story of David and Goliath. We probably learned it at an early age in our religion class. Who do you think is the true victor, David or the Philistine? The answer is “Neither.” It is God who is the hero. On the human level, Goliath has the upper hand in terms of skill and size. He scoffs at the shepherd boy who has been sent to oppose him. Yet he is felled by a stone from David’s sling. David overcomes his adversary because God wills it.
When our favored team loses in football, we try to justify the loss. Our quarterback was injured in the first quarter. Or our team was affected by two preceding losses. Whatever the reason, the loss stands. In the biblical narrative, we are often invited to see the hand of God at work. And very often it is a case of God making greatness out of nothing. Human agents become secondary when the hand of God is in the ascendancy.
When Jesus appears in the synagogue, his opponents are already prepared to kill him. At this point in Mark’s Gospel it appears to be very early for such a violent reaction. It should be remembered that, in assembling his material, the evangelist is not usually following a time sequence. What may have occurred later in Jesus’ ministry is drawn here, where the context is a series of events dealing with opposition to Jesus.
For Jesus there is no doubt about the rightness of performing a good deed on the Sabbath. He does not hesitate to heal regardless of the reaction. Respect for Sunday rest is a good thing; to look upon it slavishly is not.

Points to Ponder

The faithful David
The caustic Goliath
Attitudes toward the Sabbath

– That people everywhere may be given the time to rest and recover from the pressure of their work, and be given the opportunity to worship God and help people, we pray:
– That the faithful who go to Mass on Sundays will also live according to the Gospel on weekdays, we pray:
– That the Eucharistic celebration on Sundays may be to all Christian communities a source of great joy as we deeply encounter the Lord and receive the strength to follow him on his ways, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Our healing God, you set the table of your Son not merely for a select few but for all, for the sick and the suffering, for the weak and the lonely. Let Jesus’ love, his acceptance of people, his spirit of sharing and healing be ours in all our Christian communities. Teach us to set the table of ourselves, as Jesus did, your Son and our brother, who lives with you and stays with us, now and for ever.  

Prayer after Communion 
Our saving and healing God, we thank you for uniting us at the table of your Son in this Eucharistic celebration. Let the Christian community be to all people what you are to us: love and healing, peace and joy and a surprisingly generous gift, a gift freely given and never regretted. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

When did you visit me? Perhaps, the best day to visit our brother Jesus in the sick is Sunday, the day of the Lord! Bring God’s healing to people, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.