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One Stone and the Power of God’s Name

First Reading: 1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

David spoke to Saul:
“Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.”
But Saul answered David,
“You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

David continued:
“The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine.”
Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag.
With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
“Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?”
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, “Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field.”
David answered him:
“You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves.
For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.”

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 144:1B, 2, 9-10

R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My refuge and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Gospel: Mark 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

NAB

jan 20

It doesn’t matter that David is merely a boy and Goliath has been training as a warrior basically since he came from out of the womb. It doesn’t matter that Goliath is nearly twice David’s size. To David, those things do not matter. David knows his God and the power of God’s name. He knows that God will keep him safe. “The Lord, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear, will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine,” he confidently proclaims.

What gave David that great courage and confidence? Well, David knew the Lord, and he also knew the work of Lord within his life. Just as God had delivered him before, David knew He would keep him safe again.

What about you? Have you claimed the story of your own life so securely that you walk with confidence that just as God delivered you from past experiences of sin or danger, that He will rescue you again in whatever you may be facing now or in the future?

Five stones. David only took five stones from the stream. I’m reminded of the five loaves that fed the thousands. A small amount that can do so much. And it only took one. One stone and the power of God’s name. We don’t have to have very much. We can take the little we have with courage and faith in the Lord, and God will conquer overwhelmingly.

The Lord is our Rock, the Psalm reads. He will fight for us.

Maybe today you feel incapable, incompetent. Maybe you feel that you always have to keep the facade of perfection and have it all together. Jesus says TO YOU today: “Stretch out your hand!” It is He who trains your hands for battle and gives you strength even if you feel like your own hands are crippled, or even if they only hold a few stones to protect you from the giants in your life. The Lord is with you. Just as the Lord who delivered you from the claws of sin, suffering and danger in the past, to too TODAY will God keep you safe from whatever “Goliaths” you may be facing in your life.

It’s time to sing a new song to the Lord, ladies. A song of confidence and courage in the Lord!

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Sebastian, the patron of athletes, soldiers and even plague sufferers. Ask his intercession as you think about the ways in which God has rescued you in the past, and ask for courage and confidence in the Lord for whatever difficulties you may currently be facing.

photo credit

Mary Catherine Craige is a lover of creativity and learning new things. When she is not guiding the development of young children through Montessori methods, you can find her behind her harp, taking an art class, or writing in her journal. You can find out more about her here.

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