14 January 2012
The Call of the Apostle Matthew (Levi)- Extracted from Mark 2:13-17
Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As He passed by, He saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While He was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to His disciples,
"Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus heard this and said to them,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
Our Reflections: Matthew (Levi) was originally a tax collector, despised by his own people; as tax collectors had always collected more from the people to enrich themselves.
Matthew who followed God’s call, let himself to be transformed by Him and became one of the greatest Saint, honoured by all in the Church. He is one of the authors of the Gospel -Book of Matthew.
From Matthew’s example, we see that in God’s eyes, no one is “an impossible” unless he himself has chosen to be a “hopeless” case.
God who heals the sick, raises the dead could also heal the wrong dispositions in us, to make us beautiful again, if only we let Him; as He would never force Himself on us because He loves us.
Saul was rejected by God as king of Israel because of his disobedience and the Prophet Samuel was sent by Him to anoint David as the next king
– Extracted from 1 Samuel 16:1-13
The LORD said to Samuel:
"How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons."
But Samuel replied:
"How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me."
To this the LORD answered:
"Take a heifer along and say,
'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.'
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you."
Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
"Is your visit peaceful, O seer?"
"Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet."
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
"Surely the LORD's anointed is here before him."
But the LORD said to Samuel:
"Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart."
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, "The LORD has not chosen him."
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
"The LORD has not chosen this one either."
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
"The LORD has not chosen any one of these."
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
"Are these all the sons you have?"
"There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep."
Samuel said to Jesse,
"Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here."
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
"There - anoint him, for this is he!"
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.
You come to me with sword, spear and scimitar, but I come to you in the name of Yahweh Sabaoth, God of the armies of Israel, whom you have challenged
- Extracted from 1 Samuel 17:
32 David said to Saul, 'Let no one be discouraged on his account; your servant will go and fight this Philistine.'
33 Saul said to David, 'You cannot go and fight the Philistine; you are only a boy and he has been a warrior since his youth.'
34 David said to Saul, 'Your servant used to look after the sheep for his father and whenever a lion or a bear came and took a sheep from the flock,
35 I used to follow it up, lay into it and snatch the sheep out of its jaws. If it turned on me, I would seize it by the beard and batter it to death.
36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine will end up like one of them for having challenged the armies of the living God.'
37 'Yahweh,' David went on, 'who delivered me from the claws of lion and bear, will deliver me from the clutches of this Philistine.' Then Saul said to David, 'Go, and Yahweh be with you!'
38 Saul dressed David in his own armour; he put a bronze helmet on his head, dressed him in a breastplate
39 and buckled his own sword over David's armour. David tried to walk but, not being used to them, said to Saul, 'I cannot walk in these; I am not used to them.' So they took them off again.
40 He took his stick in his hand, selected five smooth stones from the river bed and put them in his shepherd's bag, in his pouch; then, sling in hand, he walked towards the Philistine.
41 The Philistine, preceded by his shield-bearer, came nearer and nearer to David.
42 When the Philistine looked David up and down, what he saw filled him with scorn, because David was only a lad, with ruddy cheeks and an attractive appearance.
43 The Philistine said to David, 'Am I a dog for you to come after me with sticks?' And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 The Philistine said to David, 'Come over here and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the wild beasts!'
45 David retorted to the Philistine, 'You come to me with sword, spear and scimitar, but I come to you in the name of Yahweh Sabaoth, God of the armies of Israel, whom you have challenged.
46 Today, Yahweh will deliver you into my hand; I shall kill you, I shall cut off your head; today, I shall give your corpse and the corpses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the wild beasts, so that the whole world may know that there is a God in Israel,
47 and this whole assembly know that Yahweh does not give victory by means of sword and spear - for Yahweh is lord of the battle and he will deliver you into our power.'
48 No sooner had the Philistine started forward to confront David than David darted out of the lines and ran to meet the Philistine.
49 Putting his hand in his bag, he took out a stone, slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead; the stone penetrated his forehead and he fell face downwards on the ground.
50 Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; he hit the Philistine and killed him, though he had no sword in his hand.
51 David ran and stood over the Philistine, seized his sword, pulled it from the scabbard, despatched him and cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.
52 The men of Israel and of Judah started forward, shouting their war cry, and pursued the Philistines as far as the approaches of Gath and the gates of Ekron. The Philistine dead lay all along the road from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron.
53 Turning back from their ferocious pursuit of the Philistines, the Israelites plundered their camp.
54 And David took the Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem; his weapons, however, he put in his own tent.
55 When Saul saw David going to engage the Philistine he said to Abner, the army commander, 'Abner, whose son is that boy?' 'On your life, O king,' Abner replied, 'I do not know.'
56 The king said, 'Find out whose son the lad is.'
57 When David came back after killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine's head in his hand.
58 Saul asked him, 'Whose son are you, young man?' David replied, 'The son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.'
14 January 2012