Readings and Reflection for Friday January 28, St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (M)


You have despised me and taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.
A reading from the second Book of Samuel (2 Samuel 11: 1 – 4a.5-10a.13- 17)

It happened that, in the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am with child.” So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. They told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house.” And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was slain also.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 51:3-4.5-6ab.6cd-7.10-11 (R. cf. 3a)
R/. Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your merciful love;
according to your great compassion,
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me completely from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin. R/.

My transgressions, truly I know them;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done. R/.

R/. Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.

So you are just in your sentence,
without reproach in your judgement.
O see, in guilt I was born,
a sinner when my mother conceived me. R/.

Let me hear rejoicing and gladness,
that the bones you have crushed may exult.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt. R/.

ALLELUIA Matthew 11:25
Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia.

A man scatters seed, and while he sleeps it grows, he knows not how.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 4:26-34)

At that time: Jesus said to the crowds, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, He knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

The Gospel of the Lord

It is so beautiful and joyful to behold the young growing up to be older, bigger and wiser. We often forget that their growth started at a very insignificant and helpless level. None would survive but for the help of parents and caretakers. God is the real principle behind the growth and the outcome. Quite often, we are afraid to start projects or take on some endeavor because of the magnitude of the undertaking. Jesus encourages us with the parables of the seed growing secretly and the mustard seed. No matter how small the beginnings are, the outcome is in the hands of God. The future may be uncertain, but just begin by planting the seed now. God gives the growth and the yield. Lord, free us from the fear that keeps us from action. Amen


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