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3rd Week, Saturday, Feb 1st - Reflection & Liturgy

2 Sam 12:1-7, 10-17 / Mark 4:35-41 
Nathan confronts David: David acknowledged his sin.

Babe Ruth drifted away from his faith during his great baseball career. Toward the end of his life, Ruth had to undergo a serious operation. One of his closest friends, Paul Carey, said to him one night, “Don’t you think you ought to put your house in order?” The Babe said later: “I didn’t dodge the long, challenging look in his eyes. I knew what he meant. . . . I nodded, and Paul got up, called in a chaplain, and I made a full confession. . . .  As I lay in bed that evening, I thought to myself what a comfortable feeling to be free.” Is our own “house” in order?

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Would we have the courage to confront a friend as Carey did Ruth and Nathan did David? “If you are weak enough to sin, do not be too proud to recognize the fact.” Louis Evely
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Just to think that one day we will have to stand before the Lord and receive a judgment that will seal our eternity can be rather frightening. So, we might think that it is God who will judge us and determine how guilty we are and then send us according to where we should go. Yet, if God is love, then why would He want to judge us and even condemn us?
In the 1st reading, it was not God who pronounced judgment on David but rather it was David who pronounced judgment on himself. Nathan, the prophet, narrated the story, but it was David who made the conclusion. Nathan held the mirror, and David saw the reflection.

Yet, we must also acknowledge that David had the humility to admit that it was his own reflection, that he was that man in the story.

We all have that God-given conscience to admit to our faults and sinfulness. Yet, with the same breath, we also must admit that we have this ability to deny guilt and responsibility.

We can even rationalize away our guilt and turn black into white. That can happen, and will happen, when we are not close to God and forget that Jesus is in our hearts.

The disciples in the gospel were frightened in the face of the storm, but that was because they have yet to realize who Jesus is. We know who Jesus is. We also know that He has made His home in our hearts.

In the face of temptations and sinfulness, let us hear His voice as He tells us: Quiet now! Be calm! Let us remember that Jesus came, not to judge and condemn us, but to save us.
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Saturday of 3rd Week - Liturgy


WHY ARE YOU AFRAID? 

Introduction 
One of the most poignant, dramatic pages of the Old Testament is read to us today. David, the faithful servant of God, has committed adultery and murder. The prophet arouses the king’s indignation against those committing injustice and then tells David: That is what you have done! That man is you! The king’s acknowledgment and repentance is immediate and deep; God’s forgiveness too is instantaneous and absolute. “That person is you” applies often to us too; when we judge and condemn, is it not often our faults we condemn in others? Many people are afraid today. Our times are very insecure in many aspects, with wars, violence, and economic and moral crises. Life seems to move too fast for many. And the Church, in its leaders and members, is often upset and afraid. God seems far away, like a God who sleeps, a God who seems indifferent to our fears and incertitude. Where are our faith and hope? Let us turn to him who journeys with us and wakes us up, Jesus, our Lord and brother here among us.

Opening Prayer 
God of power and might, when we cry out to you in the tempest of life, reassure us that you care and that you are with us, even when you seem absent and silent. Let our faith remain calm and peaceful and deepen it in every trial. Keep us believing that the waves obey you, and that at your command, the powers of evil cannot harm us. Stay with us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord for ever.

Commentary 
“You are the man!” The moment of truth. When seen against the background of David’s liaison with Bathsheba, today’s parable of Nathan is not hard to decode. With the entire court at his disposal, and its plethora of women, David took the wife of one of his soldiers for his adulterous philandering. Yet the moment of truth is not without its salutary effect. David crumbles beneath the weight of his guilt. He is told that his own family is destined for great distress. The child to be born of Bathsheba will not live. Clothed in sackcloth, David lies on the ground praying for forgiveness. The psalmist captures his spirit: “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Ps 51:10). At times we are taken aback when full funeral rites are accorded someone who had long been separated from the church. But the fact is that none of us knows the dispositions of the human heart when faced with mortality. We leave much in the hands of God. None of us is really worthy. And how long does it take to be truly sorry? In fact, in many instances, contrition is present long before the end comes. We pray daily for the grace to remain faithful. But we also want to avoid being judgmental. With Paul, we can boast only of our weakness. And that makes us ever grateful for the goodness of God. 

Points to Ponder 
Nathan’s parable
David’s repentance
God’s mercy in our lives 

Intercessions 
– For the Church of Jesus Christ, that its faith and love may not waver in the difficulties and storms of our time, we pray:
– For those who doubt their faith and are afraid of facing the future, that God may give them courage and that we may refresh their hope, we pray:
– For sailors and fishers, that the sea may be peaceful and generous to them; for all who travel, that they may safely reach their destination, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts 
Keep alive in us Lord, our God, our faith and trust in you through the bread of love and justice of your Son, Jesus Christ. Even when we do not know what the future will bring, keep us going to the city with foundations of which you are the designer and builder, the city of justice, peace and lasting love proclaimed to us by Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion 
God our Father, by the stirring word of your Son you have called us, people of little faith, away from our safe security. By his bread of life, you have restored our strength. When the waves and winds of fear threaten to engulf us and to blow us off-course, keep us and all your people firm with the assurance that your Son is with us and that he will never desert us, for he is our Lord, for ever and ever. 

Blessing 
This has been a celebration of encouragement and trust. Jesus has assured us: “I am with you. Do not fear. Face life and its problems, as a Church and as persons. Trust me.” May Almighty God give you this trusting faith and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.