Gospel Reflection – Tuesday, January 16, 2024 – Mark 2,18-22 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

Reading from the First Book of Samuel.

In those days, the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen a king among his sons.”

Samuel replied, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did as the Lord instructed and went to Bethlehem. The elders of the town trembled when they met him and asked, “Do you come in peace?” Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace. I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel, but Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Next, Jesse presented Shammah, and Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So Jesse sent for him. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Gospel (Mk 2:23-28)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Jesus was passing through some wheat fields on a Sabbath. His disciples began to pick some heads of grain as they walked along. The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look! Why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus replied, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

— The Gospel of the Lord.

— Praise to you, Lord.

Refletindo a Palavra de Deus

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I want to invite you to reflect on the biblical passages from the First Reading, in 1 Samuel 16:1-13, and from the Gospel of Mark 2:23-28. These readings bring us important lessons about God’s will, the importance of a sincere heart, and the understanding of the true meaning of the Sabbath. Let’s explore these themes together and discover how they apply to our everyday lives.

My friends, we all have daily experiences that connect us to these biblical passages. Imagine the scene described in 1 Samuel 16:1-13: the prophet Samuel is sent by God to anoint a new king in Bethlehem. He arrives in the city and sees the sons of Jesse, each of them seemingly suitable to be chosen by God. But God tells Samuel: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

This message is profoundly relevant to us today. Often, we are quick to judge people based on their external appearances, their positions, or their material achievements. But God invites us to look beyond these surfaces and see people’s hearts. He calls us to recognize true beauty, that which comes from a heart filled with love, humility, and compassion.

An illustrative story of this truth is that of the young David, the least of Jesse’s sons. He wasn’t the strongest, tallest, or seemingly most qualified to be king. Nevertheless, God chose him because He saw in his heart the willingness to serve Him and do His will. David was a shepherd, but he was anointed as king, becoming an example of how God can use ordinary people to fulfill His extraordinary purposes.

This message challenges us to look at the people around us with God’s eyes, not letting ourselves be swayed by appearances but seeking the essence, goodness, generosity, and sincerity that may be hidden behind unfamiliar faces. This is a lesson we can apply in our families, relationships, and communities.

In the Gospel of Mark 2:23-28, we find another valuable lesson. Jesus and His disciples were walking through fields on a Sabbath when they plucked some heads of wheat to eat. The Pharisees, strict observers of the law, accused Jesus of violating the Sabbath. But Jesus responded with wise words: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).

These words of Jesus teach us that Sabbath observance should not be a heavy burden but an opportunity to rest, reflect, and draw near to God. The Sabbath is a sacred time, a gift from God to us, in which we can renew our strength and connect with the divine. It is more than a list of rules and obligations; it is an invitation to experience the joy of communion with God and others.

How often, my brothers and sisters, do we fall into the trap of turning our faith into a set of empty obligations and formalities? How often do we forget that God desires a living and deep relationship with us? Jesus’s message reminds us that true Sabbath observance, that is, the sacred day, is to place God first in our lives, seek His presence, rest in Him, and allow Him to renew our strength, guiding us toward a full and meaningful life.

These biblical passages invite us to reflect on the importance of a sincere heart and authentic Sabbath observance. They challenge us to look beyond external appearances and see the true value of people, as well as to seek a deep connection with God in our daily lives.

My friends, how can we apply these lessons in our lives? Allow me to offer some practical guidance.

Firstly, let us remember to look at people with God’s eyes. Let us strive to go beyond appearances and superficial judgments. May we see people’s hearts, value their inherent dignity, and treat everyone with love and respect. This applies not only to those close to us but also to strangers we encounter on our journey. Each person is a child of God, deserving of our care and compassion.

Secondly, let us reassess our Sabbath observance practice. It is not just about following rules but creating space for God in our lives. Take time to rest, connect with Him through prayer and Scripture reading. Let go of concerns and seek the inner peace that only He can provide. At the same time, remember that the Sabbath is an invitation to live out our faith authentically every day of the week, carrying God’s love wherever we go.

Additionally, I encourage you to seek moments of silence and reflection in your lives. In a busy and noisy world, it is easy to get distracted and lose sight of what truly matters. Take regular breaks to be alone with God, to hear His voice in your heart. Find time to meditate on the spiritual truths you are learning and allow them to transform your attitudes and actions.

In conclusion, I want to emphasize that everything we have discussed today aims at bringing us closer to God and making us more authentic disciples of Christ. It’s not just about hearing beautiful and inspiring words but acting in accordance with them. May this message not be merely a speech but a motivation for real change in our lives.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we walk together on this journey of faith, let us remember that God loves us unconditionally. He sees us beyond appearances and invites us to deep intimacy with Him. Let us be open to this grace, let it transform us, and allow divine love to empower us to love and serve others.

May the lessons from today’s biblical passages find a home in our hearts and guide us in our thoughts, words, and actions. May we be people who seek the true beauty of the heart and live out an authentic faith, resting in God and sharing His love with the world.

May God, in

His infinite goodness, bless us and illuminate our spiritual journey. May He grant us the grace to live according to His will and give us strength to overcome the challenges we face. May His love envelop us and guide us in every moment of our lives.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.