Sunday, January 15, 2006



JANUARY 16, 2006

1 SAMUEL 15:16-23
Samuel said to Saul: "Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me
last night." Saul replied, "Speak!" Samuel then said: "Though
little in your own esteem, are you not leader of the tribes of
Israel? The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a
mission, saying, `Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of
destruction. Fight against them until you have exterminated them.'
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD? You have pounced on the spoil,
thus displeasing the LORD." Saul answered Samuel: "I did indeed obey
the LORD and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have
brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban. But
from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen, the best of what had
been banned, to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal." But
Samuel said: "Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and
sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the LORD? Obedience is
better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams. For a
sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of
idolatry. Because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he,
too, has rejected you as ruler."

MARK 2:18-22
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected, "Why do the disciples of John and
the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not
fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the
bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with
them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is
taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one
sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its
fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the
wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are
ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."

Today we are presented with the middle part of five conflicts in
Mark's gospel. Last Friday and Saturday we heard how Jesus got into
trouble with the scribes because he forgave sins and ate with
sinners, another sign of forgiveness. The gospel readings for
tomorrow and the day after present Jesus in trouble again this time
with the Pharisees because of alleged Sabbath violations.

Compared with these four conflicts, the center, today's gospel
reading, seems to be quite harmless. There are no scribes or
Pharisees around, just ordinary people asking why Jesus' disciples
do not fast as often as some Jewish groups do. But today's gospel
reading is an explosive one.

Jesus speaks of himself three times as the bridegroom. You may
ask: "So what?" The Jews used this word only for the real
bridegrooms, or for God, the bridegroom of his spouse Israel. By
comparing himself with a bridegroom, Jesus indicates that through
his teaching and actions, through his very person, God has become
present in the world in a new and unique way. That is why he heals
and forgives, why he can call himself "Lord of the Sabbath."

This is indeed a new teaching, something unheard of, something that
shocks and scares the religious leaders. It is a teaching so new
and explosive that it does not anymore fit into the old ways in much
the same way as new fermenting wine cannot be put into old hardened
wineskins because they would burst and the new wine spilled. Jesus'
teaching is not just a patchwork of the new and the old. Whoever
follows Jesus must be ready to embark upon a whole new way of life.

In yesterday's celebration of the Santo Niño, we seem to have tamed
Jesus. We have made him a handsome harmless Jesus. He is
compassionate, loving and forgiving. But with his divine power and
authority, he also demands a lot from his followers. He challenges
us to let go of our old sinful or tepid way of living and live a new
life, his life. We cannot ease our conscience when we continue to
go our old ways saying, "the Lord is so good, he will understand."
Neither can we say, "The Lord will understand" when we are not ready
to give up our bad habits or even vices. New wine must be put into
new wineskins. Renewal, turning away from sinland acting on the
gospel, is what Jesus demands of each and every one of us.

"Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I may grow in the
knowledge of your great love and truth. Help me to seek you
earnestly in prayer and fasting that I may turn away from sin and
willfulness and conform my life more fully to your will. May I
always find joy in knowing, loving, and serving you."

We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- Thanksgiving and personal intentions of Baby Jane Figuerres.
- In thanksgiving for the improvement of Mike Torres' condition, and
for his continued recovery.
- for the healing of the surgery of Rachel Culaton and Rose Noemi Co.
- for Daddy Rudy who will be undergoing cataract surgery this coming
- for the personal intentions of Leo
- for the repose of the souls of Tomas and Lolita Molina.
- for the personal intentions of Charles Conrad C and Cheryl C.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Wedding Anniversary: Maximo & Marian Chao
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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