4th Week, Monday, Feb 3rd: Reflection and Liturgy

2 Sam 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13 / Mark 5:1-20

Shimei curses David: David ignored the curse.

A Near Eastern legend says that Abraham always postponed his breakfast until a hungry person came by to share it. One day an old man came walking by, and Abraham invited the man to eat with him. But when Abraham heard the old man utter a pagan blessing over his food, he drove him from the table. A few minutes later Abraham heard God’s voice say: “Abraham! Abraham! I’ve supplied that unbeliever with food for 80 years. Couldn’t you have tolerated him for one meal?” It takes a big person to overlook the curses and the shortcomings of other people. That’s what David did in today’s reading.

When people say things against us, or do something to ruffle us, how do we respond? “We are as big as the things that we let get us down.” Anonymous
Whenever it is said that no family is perfect, it is generally meant that family members may fight, they may not talk to each other, and there may be many other problems that a family go through. But each family is unique and each family has its peculiar set of problems such that what works for one family may not work for another. That's simply because each member of a family is also unique and has a unique way of thinking and behaviour.

Today's readings present us with two family scenarios that may be familiar to us in one way or another. In the 1st reading, we hear of David having to flee from his own son Absalom who was out to seize the throne from David and even kill him in the process. But the humility and faith of David is truly edifying as he surrenders himself to the Lord even when Shimei, an insignificant person, insulted and cursed David.

In the gospel, we hear of a man possessed by a legion of unclean spirits ran up and fell at the feet of Jesus. His family was not with him then, but it can be supposed that they had tried to secure him with fetters and chains but in vain.

But when Jesus expelled the unclean spirits from him, he wanted to follow Jesus but Jesus would not let him and said to him, "Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you."

What we can learn from the two readings of today is that as much as there are family problems, we have to be humble and surrender them to the Lord and commend our families to Him.

Also, to have a home to go back to where family members are still together regardless of differences is indeed a blessing.

Let us pray to the Lord to pour forth His blessings on all families so that they can be witnesses of what the Lord in His mercy has done for them.
Monday of 4th Week-Liturgy 


David flees from the rebellion started by his son Absalom and is generous enough not to punish the man who curses and humiliates him. Maybe this humiliation is part of God’s plan, he says. His first journey to pagan territory, Jesus cures a possessed man. Biblical scholars generally accept the historical foundation of this strange incident, namely, that Jesus took pity on a sick man and revealed his divine power to the pagans. Much of the rest may be a midrash, a sort of free allegorical theological commentary in rabbinic style. For the Jews had a very low opinion of pagans. They were slaves of demons, living in impure places of death, like tombs, and not much better than pigs. In any case, Jesus is not limited by boundaries and goes to these most alienated people, but they do not accept him. Only the man who is healed shows faith in Jesus. 

Opening Prayer 
Lord, our God, through your Son, Jesus Christ, you showed your concerned love even to the most pitiable of people. Inspire among us too people who care, and may our own words and gestures always reflect the love without boundaries of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

David’s sense of guilt remains with him long after the Bathsheba incident. Different forms of adversity are beginning to appear in his life. The only major insurrection that occurs during his reign comes from his son, Absalom. Allegedly dissatisfied with his father’s mode of governing, he organizes a rebellious campaign. In today’s reading, David takes his leave of Jerusalem, in the face of Absalom’s threat, in a procession marked by pronounced grief. At one point, an unknown figure named Shimei makes an appearance and begins to curse the king, calling him a murderer and a scoundrel. He blames him for bloodshed in the time of Saul and shows that his sympathies fie with Absalom, David’s son. David staunchly prohibits any form of reprisal against Shimei. He sees the man’s denunciation as God-sent and deserved. The king accepts the abuse and continues on his journey. His hope is that God will ultimately makes things right. God’s power is limited by the human will. We always retain the power to decide for better or worse. David does not act against Shimei because he sees this outrage against him as justified. The man in today’s Gospel, on the other hand, had benefited by Jesus’ act of exorcism. But when told to go home and share his good fortune with his family, he follows his own whim and takes a tour through the region speaking of what Jesus had done for him. Self often takes precedence in our decisions. We cannot be reluctant to see and recognize our wrongdoing, as David did. But at the same time, let us not refuse new directions if we feel that God is calling us. 

Points to Ponder 
David’s sense of wrongdoing
David’s refusal of reprisal
Recognizing our wrong doing
Adhering to God’s will 

– For the many in our harsh world who are still suffering from discrimination, treated as outcasts or nowhere welcome, we pray:
– For all of us, that we may never see compassion as weakness or something to hide, we pray:
– For gratitude for the gifts we have received from the Lord and for the goodness people have let us experience, we pray:

 Prayer over the Gifts 
Lord, our God, we bring bread and wine before you to share in the thanksgiving of your Son. With him we give you praise for your covenant of love and we ask you in all humility always to remember that those around us belong to you as much or more than we do, on account of Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord our God, you taught us today that it is better to forgive than to punish, better to help than to speak words of pity. Help us to have concern toward our neighbor, even when it is not appreciated, the compassionate and uplifting attitude of Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

To the man he had cured, Jesus said: “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.” Let us tell our friends how much the Lord has done for us, and may Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.