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1Sam 1:1-8; Ps 116:12-13.14 and 17.18-19; Mk 1:14-20


In the 1st Reading of today, we saw how Peninnah decided to cause mental and emotional torture to her co-wife, Hannah all because she (Peninnah) was blessed with children while Hannah was not. In the Old Testament, as it is even among some cultures of our present days, a childless woman was considered a failure, and her barrenness was a social embarrassment for her husband. We could imagine the pain and embarrassment Hannah suffered in the hands of her husband and co-wife.

In life, any agent of conscious sorrow and torment is considered an instrument in the hands of the evil one since God does not cause any confusion or chaos. Therefore, Peninnah, with her action, could not be considered an agent of God's grace to Hannah. Even though she went with her family to the Temple each year as prescribed by law, she was not an agent of grace. But while she and her husband, Elkanah, looked at Hannah's outward circumstances, God moved ahead with his plan for Hannah when she (Hannah) grasped the opportunity that came her way to offer serious prayers to God in the Temple Day and night.

Today’s Gospel describes the beginning of Jesus’ preaching and healing ministry and the call of the apostles who were to continue that ministry. Jesus started public ministry immediately after John the Baptist was arrested. Following John’s pattern, Jesus, too, invited the listeners to repent as a preparation for believing in the Gospel, or the Good News, of the Kingdom of God. Repentance means an about-face turn to God resulting in a change of mind, heart, behavior, and life. It also means sorrow for having refused God’s love and a resolution to make amends. Believingin the Gospel demands from the hearers a resolution to take Jesus’ words seriously, to translate them into action, and to put trust in Jesus’ authority. Jesus preached the Gospel,or Good News, that God is a loving, forgiving, caring, and merciful Father Who wants to liberate us and save us from our sins through His Son, Jesus.

According to Mark, Jesus selected four fishermen, Andrew and his brother Simon (later named Peter by Jesus), with James and his brother John, right from their fishing boats. Jesus wanted these ordinary, hard-working people as assistants in ministry because they would be very responsive instruments in the hands of God.

In order to be effective instruments in the hands of God and to continue Jesus’ preaching, healing and saving ministry, we, too, need to repent of our sins on a daily basis and to renew our lives by cooperating with God’s grace, relying on the power of God.


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