January 12, 2016

Jan. 12

January 12, 2016:  Tuesday, 1st week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Hannah rose after a meal; she ate and drank with her husband (1st reading)
  • 'Drop' pin:  Hannah wept during her prayer (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Eli to Hannah:  "Go in peace" (1st reading)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  "My heart exults in the Lord" (canticle)
  • 'People' tie pin:  barren wife bears seven sons (canticle)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
Listen to settings of the Canticle of Hannah (1st reading)

Pope Francis homily
Prayer works miracles and prevents hardening of heart.  Your prayer changes the Church, not popes, bishops, priests, or nuns, but saints, those who dare to believe that God can do anything.  Hannah was praying silently.  Hers is the courage of a woman of faith weeping and grieving and asking the Lord for grace.  The many good women in the Church place their trust in prayer.  St. Monica, with her tears, was granted the grace of conversion for her son, St. Augustine..
How easily do we like Eli misjudge people, lacking the respect to say, "I wonder what he has in his heart?"  When we lack compassion, we think evil and don't understand those who pray with pain and anguish and entrust that pain to the Lord.  Jesus knows this kind of prayer.  When he was in Gethsemane he sweated blood and didn't accuse his Father; he responded like Hannah, with meekness.  Sometimes, we pray but don't know how to engage with the Lord, to ask for grace.  Prayer works miracles.  
  • 1 Sm 1:9-20  Hannah prayed, promising:  “Lord, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord.”  Eli: “May God grant you what you have asked.”  She conceived and bore a son whom she called Samuel [asked of/heard by God].
  • 1 Sm 2:1, 4-7, 8abcd  "My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior."  The barren wife bears seven sons.  The Lord puts to death and gives life, casts down and raises up, makes poor and makes rich, humbles and exalts.
  • Mk 1:21-28  The people were astonished at Jesus' teaching, for he taught with authority.  He rebuked an unclean spirit; all were amazed.
      For this child I prayed/ Young
    • Creighton:  The similarity of Hannah's canticle to Mary's Magnificat  encourages us to compare the two women.  Hannah prayed passionately for a son, the Lord heard her prayer, and in gratitude she surrendered him to the Lord.  Mary didn't have to pray for the Son God gave her; she was ready, and even knowing that there would be sorrow she expressed gratitude and praise.  She didn't have to hand him over to God as Hannah did, but her mothering humanly turned him in that direction.  Her Magnificat reveals she was formed by the Old Testament, filled with the Spirit who inspired her words.  How have I read, pondered, studied, and prayed God's word?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "A settlement":  Barren Hannah, downcast for years, prayed to the Lord, wept, and made a vow; she then conceived and bore a son.  King Hezekiah, terrorized by the Assyrian king, "went to the temple, and prayed to the Lord, and the Assyrian king went back to his country.  Paul, annoyed by a girl with a clairvoyant  spirit following him around, commanded the spirit in Jesus' name to come out, and the spirit left her.  Paul, despite his "thorn in the flesh," was content after prayer.  May we offer our problems to the Lord as these people did....
    • Passionist:  "God answers our prayers":  Hannah, in desperation, makes a vow that if she bears a child, he'll be given to the Lord.  God answers her and blesses her with a son, and she does as she promised.  God answers our prayers too.  Like snow that melts under the sun, so do our worries and problems go away when we pray.  When we come to the Lord in faith and ask for his blessings, God does wonders in our lives.
      Hannah prays to the Lord for a son who will be Samuel
      Hannah art and more
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus taught with authority":  Jesus spoke God's word as no one had before.  "Faith is mighty, but without love it profits nothing.  The devils confessed Christ, but lacking charity it availed nothing. They said, 'What have we to do with you?'  They confessed a sort of faith, but without love. Hence they were devils" (Augustine)  Without love, faith profits nothing.  True faith works through love and abounds in hope.  Love orients us to God and the good of our neighbor created in God's image.  Hope anchors faith in God's promises and purifies our desires.  "The devil, because he had deceived Eve with his tongue, is punished by the tongue, that he might not speak" (Bede the Venerable, Homilies on the Gospels 1.8).  Faith is a free gift of God and the free assent of our will to God's truth.  To live and grow in faith, we must nourish it with God's word.  If we approach God's word with trust, submission, and eagerness, then we're in a better position to learn what God wants to teach us....
      • Marguerite Bourgeoys, founded Congregation of Notre-Dame de Montréal, still running schools worldwide; see Wikipedia.
      • Benet (Benedict), bishop, monk, taught St. Bede

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