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3rd Week, Friday, Jan 30th- Reflection & Liturgy

2 Sam 11:1-10, 13-17 / Mark 4:26-34
David sins: David compounded his sin.

Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons is based on the life of St. Thomas More. A moving scene occurs when Lord Norfolk tries to persuade More to sign a document swearing that Henry VIII’s marriage is lawful. When More refuses, Norfolk responds something like this: “Confound it all, Thomas. Can’t you do what I did and sign it to keep the king happy? Who knows if his marriage was legal or not?  More refuses. Norfolk not only sinned; he compounded his sin by trying to persuade More to sin also.

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Do we sometimes find one sin leading us to yet another one? “Sin is like circles in the water when a stone is thrown into it; one produces another— when anger was in Cain’s heart, murder was not far off.” Philip Henry
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An act or a deed is driven by an intention or motive. We don't do something without a reason. And depending on what the intention or motive is, the act or deed is deemed good or bad. In the gospel, we heard parables about seeds. The seeds were thrown on the soil or sowed in the soil. That act was intended to have the seeds germinate and bear fruit for the harvest.

In the 1st reading, we heard about king David "sowing his seed" with another woman. But king David's intention of "sowing his seed" was out of lust and carnal desires. And so out of a sinful intention came an act that bore consequences and then it spiralled further into another evil intention that resulted in the murder of an innocent man who was loyal and trusted in his king. Hence, we must always check the intentions behind our actions. Because bad intentions will drive actions that will only bear bad fruit.

For whatever we intend to do, we must put it under the light of prayer and to sieve out any ulterior motives and selfish desires. Then our actions and deeds will bear a harvest of goodness and God will be glorified in all that we do.
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Friday of 3rd Week - Liturgy
THE KINGDOM GROWS QUIETLY 

Introduction
The adultery of David with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah underline that sin is very much a part of our human history; and Christ, descendant of David and Bathsheba, will save in his humanity our humanity entangled in sin. But where sin is abundant, the grace and life of Christ are even more abundant. The kingdom of God does not irrupt in our human world with extraordinary signs and power. It is a patient, modest growth, beginning with a tiny seed in the personal salvation history of every person, in the salvation history of humankind. It is constantly threatened by sin, which is the refusal to grow. 

Opening Prayer
Patient God, curb our impatience when we try to impose your truth and justice and peace in a world and even a Church not yet disposed to welcome them. In our helplessness and discouragement, may we come to accept that all true growth comes from you. We can only plant the seed: make it bloom into a mighty tree that shelters many. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Commentary
The David narrative today is more than a little disconcerting. His conduct is lustful, deceptive, and death-dealing. He could be grateful that he had to stand only before the court of God and not that of a human magistrate. The consequences would have been much more severe. The story’s deceit can be seen in three stages. David sees Bathsheba bathing on a nearby rooftop. Without knowing anything of her background, he lusts after her and arranges for her to be brought to his palace. When she becomes pregnant, he has her husband Uriah, a warrior in David’s army, brought back from the front and given home leave. Uriah will then be the presumed father of the child and David, exonerated. When, upon his return, Uriah does not go to his home, David is infuriated. Upon his return to batde, the king arranges for him to be killed. This is a David narrative that does not appear elsewhere in accounts of his life. The child of this illicit union does not live. And David expresses his profound sorrow and sense of repentance. His sorrow for his conduct is sincere and his sin forgiven. The human failing aside, the forgiveness of God is paramount. And there are no limits drawn. People may be incarcerated for life because of their misconduct, but that does not mean that their sin is not forgiven. Peace with God can be made at will. Today we can all say with the psalmist, “Have mercy on me, God, according to your steadfast love.” 

Points to Ponder
The seriousness of David’s sin
David’s sense of repentance
Morality of the death penalty 

Intercessions 
– That the tiny spark of faith still alive in the hearts of many who abandon the Church may not be extinguished, but grow again onto a bright light renewing their life, we pray:
– That our schools may implant into the hearts of our youth the seeds of faith, of generous and serving love, and that the Lord may bless the educators in their tremendous task, we pray:
– That missionaries may keep sowing the seed of the joyful Good News of the Lord in our often indifferent and hostile world, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts
Almighty and patient God, we bring before you the fruits grown from tiny seeds of wheat and the small shoots of the vine. By the power of your Spirit, they will become Jesus among us. Let the seed of his life and message bear fruit among us, your people, and make us the body of Christ to the world, that trust and hope may grow among all. We ask you this through Christ, our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion
God our Father, with your generous hand you have sown among us here in this Eucharist the seed of all that is good and true, your Son, Jesus Christ. However, insignificant and disappointing our faith and love may seem now, give us the hope and the courage that he can unite us into a community where truth and justice and freedom will prevail, until the crop is ready for the reaping in your own good time. Grant this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Blessing

Patience and a sense of humble modesty are needed when we do God’s work. He sows, he plants, and he gives growth. He will do the harvesting. But he expects us to cooperate with him. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.