Daily Readings & Inspiration Daily

Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Heb 4:12-16

The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,     
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Responsorial Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R.    (see John 6:63c)  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
    find favor before you,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia Lk 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 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.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

He Knows Me So Well

There’s an obscure moment in an equally obscure musical during which two women, both in love with the same man, sing a duet titled I Know Him So Well. Oddly enough, this is the song that’s been running through my head as I read today’s lessons—though with slightly changed lyrics. Not “I know him so well,” but, rather, “He knows me so well.”

I seem to spend a lot of time trying to do the right thing, and a lot more time, frankly, falling flat on my face. Every morning I start out with lofty resolutions about how I am going to move through my day in God’s presence, and every evening I do a brief Examen and find how many of those resolutions came to nothing. Do some spiritual reading? Um, nope, didn’t find time for that today. Follow through on my offer to help someone and actually, well, help them? Oops, that will have to be for tomorrow. Not think unkind thoughts about people with whom I disagree, but who are also children of God? Not even close. 

I despair, sometimes, of ever getting it right. And I wonder how it all seems to God, who started the day with me in my resolutions and promises and plans, and to whom I have to admit how much I failed. Failed, yet again, to be the “only Gospel my neighbor ever reads,” as St. Francis urges me. Failed, yet again, to put God first and myself second. Failed, failed, failed.

One of my favorite theologians, Frederich Buechner, writes, “To confess your sins to God is not to tell him anything he doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.” I think about that as I do my nightly Examen: he already knows everything I’m going to say to him. He already knows my failures.

And, as today’s readings assure me, knowing all that, he loves me anyway. St. Paul tells the Hebrews that “No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed (…) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” And St. Mark reminds us of Jesus sitting with people who are despised, with tax collectors, with sinners, and replies to objections: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

And there it is. He knows me so well. He knows my weaknesses. He knows how often I fail—but he also knows how often I try. He has come to eat with me, to walk with me, to offer me love and friendship, even though he knows me so well. That is precisely why he is here. And why I need to keep trying. Keep resolving to walk more closely with him every morning; keep examining where I fell short and working out how to progress every evening. Keep doing the best I can. Understand in all the trying and failing and trying again that I am a beloved child of God.

And that he knows me so well.

Contact the author

Jeannette de Beauvoir is a writer and editor with the digital department of Pauline Books & Media, working on projects as disparate as newsletters, book clubs, ebooks, and retreats that support the apostolate of the Daughters of St. Paul at http://www.pauline.org.

Feature Image Credit: Fortorech, https://pixabay.com/photos/sky-freedom-happiness-relieved-2667455/

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