MEMORIAL OF SAINT HILLARY, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
FIRST READING 1ST SAMUEL 4: 1 - 11
It happened that in those days Israel went out to battle against the Philistines; they encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who slew about four thousand men on the field of battle. And when the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord put us to rout today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh that he may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh, and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. When the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, the Philistines were afraid; for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. Take courage, and acquit yourselves like men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; acquit yourselves like men and fight.” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home; and there was a very great slaughter, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. And the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
Yet now you have rejected us, disgraced us;
you no longer go forth with our armies.
You make us retreat from the foe;
those who hate us plunder us at will. R/.
You make us the taunt of our neighbours,
the mockery and scorn of those around us.
Among the nations you make us a byword;
among the peoples they shake their heads. R/.
Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep?
Arise! Do not reject us forever.
Why do you hide your face,
and forget our oppression and misery? R/.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION. Matthew 4: 23
Alleluia. Jesus was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every infirmity among the people.
GOSPEL MARK 1: 40 - 45
At that time: A leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
What is the point of living when you have no hope and no faith that you will see the goodness of the Lord in this lifetime? How can you keep thinking His goodness will only come when you go to be with Him? Then what would have been the purpose of His coming? He came that we may have life and not just life, but life in its fullness. The question is what is fullness of life? How then can we walk in it?
As we count our blessings and name them one by one, our confidence in God begins to grow. We begin to realise that if God has been good to us and has brought us this far, It means He is able to take us far. He is able to do much more than we can ever ask of imagine. So let us wait on Him even as we continue to pray. Though things look like they have taken long and the answer seems not to be coming forth, let us hold fast to His promise that He who began a good work in us is faithful to see us through. He will not fail us or change His mind. He honours His word and continues to watch over it until it is fulfilled in our lives. Wait patiently, be strong and take heart, Amen!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
A M E N
Morning beloveds and blessed Friday to us all....M.M.