Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(as listed in the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2018)

08 January. Monday in Week 1

1st Reading. 1 Samuel 1:1-8

Hannah's grief at being childless; her husband tries to comfort her

There was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Now this man used to go up year by year from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?

Responsorial Psalm (from Ps 115)

Resp.: To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise

How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?
The cup of salvation I will raise,
I will call on the Lord's name. (R./)

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people.
O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful. (R./)

Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
you have loosened my bonds.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make;
I will call on the Lord's name. (R./)

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem. (R./)

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

Jesus begins his mission and calls his first disciples

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea — for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught.

Bible

Handing on the Faith

The prophet Samuel's vocation began with the example of his devout parents. The Bible shows a healthy respect for the normal ways of human nature. No spirituality that disdains the bonds of family can be truly Biblical. No spirituality that disdains the bonds of flesh and family can claim to be authentic. Still, there are times when God calls people to leave behind what is known and familiar, and launch out on a new vocation. (Remember Abraham's call, to "Leave your country and your father's house, and go the land that I will show you." So it was for those working fishermen, Simon and Andrew and the two sons of Zebedee, whom Jesus called to leave their nets and their families, to travel the countryside with him, spreading his message of love and reconciliation.

Today's Gospel leads into a prayerful spirit. If at times Jesus may seem only vaguely present to us, he is still nearby, calling us to follow him, not in order to deprive us of ordinary human love, but to enrich and transform it. In the providence of God, transformations take place: Those Galilean fishermen were never the same again. And if to us Jesus says, "Follow me," and we keep trying to respond generously, our life's fulfilment will be safe in his guiding hands.


A lifegiving meeting

Any meeting between people has potential to be a lifegiving moment. The meeting that Peter, Andrew, James and John had with Jesus was such a life-giving moment for those four fishermen, the life-giving power of God was present to them in the person of Jesus. That power of God present in Jesus was the power of love, a love that promised forgiveness, healing, acceptance, a love that gave them a mission in life. The kind of encounter that Peter, Andrew, James and John had with Jesus is offered to each one of us. Jesus is not just a figure of history, belonging to the past. He is the living Lord, still present in his church and in the world, constantly calling out to us and meeting with us in the course of our day to day lives, as he met with Simon, Andrew, James and John while they were going about their work as fishermen.

The Lord meets with us and he speaks to us through the Sacraments, in particular the Eucharist, through the Scriptures, through other people, through nature and from deep within our own hearts. Each time the Lord meets with us we will first hear the good news of God's unconditional love for us, "the kingdom of God is close at hand." We will also hear the call to mission, the call to be good news for others, to be the Lord's body in the world, his feet, his hands, his mouth, his eyes, his ears, "I will make you into fishers of people." This morning we pray for the grace to be as open and response to the Lord's presence and call as Peter, Andrew, James and John were.


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