4th Week, Thursday, Feb 6th: Reflection & Liturgy

4th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 06-02-20
1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12 / Mark 6:7-13

David gave advice to Solomon: David dies

Jack Kelly was the father of Grace Kelly. She eventually became Princess Grace of Monaco. Jack Kelly began life as a common bricklayer in Philadelphia. Eventually, he acquired his own construction company. In his last will he wrote this to his children: “I can give you only worldly goods . . . but if I had the choice I would give you character . . . and I hope a sense of humor.” David says something similar to his son Solomon in today’s reading: “Take courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the Lord, your God.” (nab)

What parting advice about life would we give to those we love, if we were to die today? Do we live that advice in our own lives? “Let us live that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.” MarkTwam
It is interesting to note that airlines put a weight limit on the passengers' luggage. For the economy class, it is generally 20kg. We might think that 20kg is a lot of stuff but if we have to pack our luggage for a trip, then we will know how easy it is to exceed this weight limit. Jesus also put a weight limit on His disciples' luggage as they set off for their mission trips. In fact, other than the clothes that they were wearing and the sandals on their feet, they were only allowed to carry a staff. And that was only to symbolize the authority that was given to them by Jesus. With such bare minimum, the disciples learned the first lesson of discipleship. And that is this: God's grace alone is sufficient. The rest are peripherals. And also, the rest will be provided for.
In the 1st reading, David also instructed Solomon on the bare but fundamental minimum as aspects of the kingship. Primarily it is the obedience to the injunctions of the Lord, and the rest will be provided for by the Lord. Hence, we may say that obedience to the Lord is the condition for His grace to be active in us.
Although God's grace is not tangible, it is certainly experienced by us, especially in times of difficulty.

Living the Christian life has its challenges, but where difficulties and challenges arise, God's grace is always present.

And where a need arises, grace provides. We don't need 20kg of power to overcome our challenges and difficulties. God's grace is all we need.
Thursday of 4th Week - Liturgy


The core of today’s first reading is an interpolation by a later biblical author on fidelity: the king embodies the people and faithfulness to the covenant. This is presented as David’s testament given on his deathbed to his successor, his son, Solomon. Jesus wants his disciples to be without security and power, so as to be free to go to people in their own life situation and to be free to preach and witness to the Gospel without ambiguity. Would that, the Church today could give such an unambiguous witness. 

Opening Prayer 
Lord our God, to go to the poor and to set them free, your disciples must be credible as people who are free themselves. We pray you today for a spirit of poverty that makes us free and available to all those imprisoned by the forces of evil. May we thus, become authentic witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord for ever.
Solomon had much to live for—perhaps too much. If only he had followed his father’s final injunction. For all his proverbial wisdom, the fact is that he did not heed his father’s counsel. It is true that Israel held together for as long as he lived. But preexistent seeds of separation were actualized at the time of his death, when the kingdom split politically into northern and soutiiern parts. If he had kept the mandate of the Lord in avoiding religious syncretism and idolatry, things might have turned out differently. In many ways Solomon proved to be a disappointment. On their first missionary journey, the disciples moved with agility and clear direction, as teachers and healers. If people rejected them, they were to leave the town and shake its dust from their feet. The message was clear, but people had the freedom to opt in or out. We are all asked to respond to God, but he will never tamper with our freedom. Love cannot be forced; if it were, it would lose the name of love. The disciples were told to travel light. In one way or another, every religious order in the history of the church has upheld this ideal. Members are taught to avoid the accumulation of goods. The reason is clear; they are an impediment to us on our journey. We eventually lose the agility and freedom to move as we should. But the counsel applies to all Christians. We are not to become entrenched in this world, which is passing away. We should regularly assess our needs and be attentive to the danger of going overboard. 

Points to Ponder 
The injunction to Solomon
Apostolic urgency
To travel light on the journey  

– Lord, they were only stammers and timid people, but you called Moses and Jeremiah to speak out and lead their people. Make us voice your word without hesitation, even to people not well disposed to listen, we pray:
– Lord, they were only fishers cleaning their nets, but you called your apostles to spread your Good News. Make us fearless to speak your word, we pray:
– Lord, they are only teachers or parish priests or employees, but you call leaders and members in our communities to tolerate no injustice and to defend the poor. Speak through them and through all of us what is right and good, we pray:

 Prayer over the Gifts
 Lord, almighty God, you want your Son to come among us not with splendor and power, but in the poverty of the ordinary, in everyday food and drink. May we too, not attach ourselves to things that tie us down and those that give us a sense of false security. Keep reminding us that we are people on the way to you and to one another and give us our food for the road, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord God, our Father, your Son sent out his disciples to bring his Good News and healing to people in their everyday lives. Help those in the Church who teach and celebrate liturgy always to link faith and worship to the realities of daily living, that the unity of what we are and do may be the Gospel and life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Jesus sent out his apostles to bring his message to people. They should not wear useless baggage and depend on the people’s hospitality. They are sent to heal and save. May your lives speak the message of the Gospel, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.