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1st Week in Ordinary Time
Upon a lofty throne, I saw a man seated,
whom a host of angels adore, singing in unison:
Behold him, the name of whose empire is eternal.
Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care,
O Lord, we pray,
that they may see what must be done
and gain strength to do what they have seen.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Samuel 1:9-20
Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh, and presented herself before the Lord; at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the doorpost of the Lord’s temple. In her bitterness she prayed to the Lord, weeping copiously, and she made a vow, promising: “O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives; neither wine nor liquor shall he drink, and no razor shall ever touch his head.” As she remained long at prayer before the Lord, Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently; though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her, “How long will you make a drunken show of yourself? Sober up from your wine!” “It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered. “I am an unhappy woman. I have had neither wine nor liquor; I was only pouring out my troubles to the Lord. Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well; my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.” Eli said, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She replied, “Think kindly of your maidservant,” and left. She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and no longer appeared downcast. Early the next morning they worshiped before the Lord, and then returned to their home in Ramah.
When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah, the Lord remembered her. She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the Lord for him.
1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“My heart exults in the Lord,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.” R.
“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.” R.
“The Lord puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he humbles, he also exalts.” R.
“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.” R.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but as it truly is, the word of God. Cf. 1 Thes 2:13
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Prayer over the Offerings
May your people’s oblation, O Lord, find favor with you, we pray,
that it may restore them to holiness
and obtain what they devoutly entreat.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
With you, O Lord, is the fountain of life,
and in your light we see light. Ps 36 (35):10
I have come that they may have life,
and have it more abundantly, says the Lord. Jn 10:10
Prayer after Communion
Humbly we ask you, almighty God,
be graciously pleased to grant
that those you renew with your Sacraments
may also serve with lives pleasing to you.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Meditation: 1 Samuel 1:9-20
If you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:11)
How do you talk to God? In the first reading for today, we hear how Hannah prays. For years she has borne the sadness of infertility, along with the stigma that other people have attached to her condition. Now she has had enough, and with honesty and desperation, she asks God for a child. She is willing to do anything, including return to God the very son she is asking for, if only God will show her mercy.
What a model Hannah offers us! She comes to God earnestly, in the midst of her troubles. She doesn’t try to make herself look good, and she doesn’t hide her true feelings. She arrives empty-handed and upset, so much so that she appears to be babbling drunkenly. But that doesn’t matter. All she knows is that she wants God to hear her.
And he does exactly that. He showers her with blessings. Not only does he give her a son, but he destines this son—Samuel—to be one of Israel’s most powerful prophets. And to top it off, he blesses Hannah with many more children!
In the face of seemingly unanswered prayers, it’s tempting to move away from God instead of towards him. It’s tempting to give up on him and remain locked in sorrow and frustration. But God does work when we pray. Our prayers may feel inadequate, and our faith may seem too small. But our Father sees to it that no prayer goes unnoticed. No act of faith or trust—however small—goes unrewarded. He doesn’t need us to be perfect before we come to him. What good would that do anyway? We would have no needs to bring to him!
This is one of the greatest blessings of prayer: you can come to the Lord no matter who you are or what you have done. He welcomes you with open arms, even when you don’t think you deserve it. He loves to hear what is upsetting you, and he loves to offer you his help and his grace. Hannah herself would testify that it’s not always easy to come to the Lord like this. But she will also tell you it is well worth it!
“Lord, thank you for your generosity. Help me to be generous with you too.”
(Psalm) 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8
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