Jan 16 (1 Sam 4:1-11 and Mk 1:40-45 – 1st Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2, Cycle A)

“Beep, beep” came the sound of the mobile phone

The beeping sound indicated a very low level of the battery.

After a couple of minutes, another clicking sound came…

… with a message, “Your phone is going to shut down because the battery is over!”

The mobile had stayed away from the charger for too long!

>> It lost its ability to function the way it was created and designed…

… because it stayed away from its source of power for too long!

Christian life is so much more similar

>> “We lose the charge and power when we stay away from God, the Source of our Strength!”

We cannot keep pushing our life too long on a “low battery mode”…

… and also thus wonder, why are things not going on well in my life?

Am in danger of “being shut down” due to “low-battery life?”

>> Is my life today in need of “recharging” by dwelling with the Source of our life?

The 1st Book of Samuel today gives us an important lesson on the danger of being away from the Source of our life…

… through the example of Hophni and Phinehas, the priestly sons of Eli, the priest.

The Bible describes them as people who “had no regard for the Lord”

>> “The sons of Eli were worthless men; they had no regard for the Lord.” (1 Sam 2:12)

They abused their office of priesthood in a number of ways:

>> They took more than their share of the meat from the animals that were brought to the sanctuary as sacrifices (Cf 1 Sam 2:13-14)

>> They often took their portion at the wrong time during the sacrifice (Cf 1 Sam 2: 15-16)

>> They lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting (Cf 1 Sam 2:22)

Even though they were warned by their father Eli, these sons failed to give any regard and respect to his admonitions. (Cf. 1 Sam 2:22-25)

Continual and wilful disobedience to rules and laws – even minor ones – always takes one’s heart away from God…

… leading gradually to a fall from one’s commitment.

The reading of the day presents the disturbing incident of the Ark of the Covenant being captured by the Philistines and the death of Phinehas and Hophni (1 Sam 4:1-11).

The incident teaches some important and crucial spiritual reminders:

1. Depend not on human wisdom; rather trust in God’s Word

The Israelites lost around four thousand people on the battlefield against the Philistines (Cf 1 Sam 4:2b).

On returning back, as they evaluated the defeat, they made a consultation only among themselves…

… even though Samuel, the prophet of God was available (Cf 1 Sam 3:19-4:1)

>> They least bothered to find what was the Mind of God or to seek for His Guidance!

In our moments of decision-making and of evaluation, do we only take refuge in human knowledge and wisdom…

… or do we allow ourselves to consult the Mind of God and to learn from Him – primarily through prayer?

>> As the book of Proverbs says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.” (Prov 3:5)

2. Do not misuse/manipulate Divine Graces in one’s own personal ways and means

Without knowing the mind of the Lord, the Israelites decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant in their midst, for gaining victory.

>> The purpose to bring the Ark was not to honour or glorify the Name of the Lord, nor to ascribe dependence on the Lord…

… rather, when they ran out of all human resources – as a last resort – they sought to manipulate Divine Graces in their own way.

This is a great reminder for all of us to follow and obey the Holy Rubrics and Instructions of our Faith and Liturgy as instructed by the Church …

… instead of “creatively using or avoiding” rituals and ceremonies as per our own conveniences

>> Giving Supreme Glory and Honour to God in humble submission to the teachings of the Church ought to be the motto in everything that we do!

3. Do not expect God’s Holy blessings without repenting and turning to Him

>> When the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the camp of Israel, the two priests – Phinehas and Hophni – were accompanying.

These priests were very much in sin and transgression…

… and yet, without repenting they would handle the Divine Ark!

Seeking to receive God’s Holy Sacraments in a state of sin and without repentance can cause harm…

… instead of receiving blessings.

St Paul echoes this fearful reality when he says: “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

>> For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” (I Cor 11:28-30)

Do I prepare myself well in order to receive the Blessings of the Lord…?

… especially an honest examination of conscience – with repentance – for the Sacrament of Confession

… a meaningful and sincere preparation for the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

Each of us are invited to live a deeper and closer relationship with the Lord at all times

>> As the leper, in the Gospel (Mk 1:40-45) would beseech the Lord, “If you will, you can make me clean”…

… may always first seek and allow God’s Will in our life, in order to receive His Healing and His Blessings

Let us remember that in our life, “we lose the charge and power when we stay away from God, the Source of our Strength!”

>> Let us avoid the danger of “being shut down” due to “low-battery life and instead “recharge” ourselves by earnestly praying: “Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “See, this divine lover is at the gate.

>> He does not merely knock, but He remains there knocking.

>> He calls to the soul!”

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