Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Reading I 1 Sm 24:3-21

Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel 
and went in search of David and his men 
in the direction of the wild goat crags.
When he came to the sheepfolds along the way, he found a cave, 
which he entered to relieve himself.
David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave.

David’s servants said to him, 
“This is the day of which the LORD said to you, 
‘I will deliver your enemy into your grasp; 
do with him as you see fit.’”
So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul’s mantle.
Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off 
an end of Saul’s mantle.
He said to his men,
“The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, 
the LORD’s anointed, as to lay a hand on him, 
for he is the LORD’s anointed.”
With these words David restrained his men 
and would not permit them to attack Saul.
Saul then left the cave and went on his way.
David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul, 
“My lord the king!”
When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul:
“Why do you listen to those who say, 
‘David is trying to harm you’?
You see for yourself today that the Lord just now delivered you 
into my grasp in the cave.
I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead.
I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord, 
for he is the LORD’s anointed and a father to me.’
Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold.
Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you, 
see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion.
I have done you no wrong, 
though you are hunting me down to take my life.
The LORD will judge between me and you, 
and the LORD will exact justice from you in my case.
I shall not touch you.
The old proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes forth wickedness.’
So I will take no action against you.
Against whom are you on campaign, O king of Israel?
Whom are you pursuing?  A dead dog, or a single flea!
The LORD will be the judge; he will decide between me and you.
May he see this, and take my part,
and grant me justice beyond your reach!”
When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul answered, 
“Is that your voice, my son David?”
And Saul wept aloud.
Saul then said to David: “You are in the right rather than I; 
you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.
Great is the generosity you showed me today, 
when the LORD delivered me into your grasp
and you did not kill me.
For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed?
May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day.
And now, I know that you shall surely be king 
and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.”

Responsorial Psalm 57:2, 3-4, 6 and 11

R.        (2a)  Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Have mercy on me, O God; have mercy on me,
            for in you I take refuge.
In the shadow of your wings I take refuge,
            till harm pass by.
R.        Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
I call to God the Most High,
            to God, my benefactor.
May he send from heaven and save me;
            may he make those a reproach who trample upon me;
            may God send his mercy and his faithfulness.
R.        Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
            above all the earth be your glory!
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
            and your faithfulness to the skies.
R.        Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.

Alleluia 2 Cor 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted 
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach 
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter; 
James, son of Zebedee, 
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, 
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; 
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

– – –

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.

A Modern Day Apostle

Do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Although clearly not one of the twelve, do you see yourself as an apostle? Do you show others God’s love, mercy, and hope like those first chosen by Christ? The word apostle translates into one sent on mission. Have you discerned the mission God has set you apart for, something only you can do that in some way brings the Good News to others? A mission possible by living in the light of Christ, never crushed or discouraged by circumstances, that trust in Him alone. 

An apostle has been summoned, called, or appointed to preach, bearing some responsibility to proclaim the Gospel. A summons can be defined as an urgent demand for help—being called upon for specific action; how you answer will look different for everyone. For me, this call became my profession—leaving behind one career to embrace a new one as an evangelist. For others, it may look more like sharing the faith at home, parish, or community as a volunteer or simply living the Catholic faith in a way to reflect Christ to others.

Discipleship needs to be rooted in grace found compellingly through prayer, Scripture, and participation in the sacraments. Before appointing the twelve to be sent out preaching, Luke (6:12) reveals that Jesus retreated to a time of silence, alone with the Father, and spent all night praying.

God has entrusted the message of reconciliation to each of us, making us ambassadors just as he did the first apostles. It is a participation in the mission of Christ not just to watch others about the work of God but alive, fully engaged, and active within it ourselves. We fulfill our baptismal promises to profess the faith by sharing the faith handed down or discovered by us. Our contribution to preaching the Gospel can be as simple as how we live our lives, whether in our homes, parishes, family, or communities. 

 As often accredited to Saint Francis’s, preaching does not always involve words but, more importantly, our actions and how others see us. God, out of pure love, brought you into being. In an abundance of his love, we exist. Created to know, love, and serve him; however, as the Scriptures teach, the greatest of these is always love and how we choose to love Him. God gives us the freedom to accept or reject a life of faith. The first apostles accepted the call to come and follow—to grow nearer, pick up their crosses, and embrace the gift of salvation through Christ. 

So, do you consider yourself an apostle of Jesus Christ? How will you demonstrate God’s love, mercy, and hope like those first chosen by Christ? Will you accept the invitation to the mission God has for you? In humble obedience to give yourself, your life, to Him who loved you into being. To say along with the Psalmist, “Be exalted above the heavens, O God; above all the earth be your glory!”

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Allison Gingras works for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization as National WINE Steward of the Virtual Vineyard. She is a Social Media Consultant for the Diocese of Fall River and CatholicMom.com. She is a writer, speaker, and podcaster, who founded ReconciledToYou.com and developed the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV).   

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The views and opinions expressed in the Inspiration Daily blog are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Diocesan, the Diocesan staff, or other contributors to this blog.

What Does Your Boat Look Like?

This past weekend we celebrated my 7 year old son’s birthday. It was an emotional one for me because I realized that we very well could have been mourning on this day instead of rejoicing. I am so grateful to my merciful Lord and the Doctor who had the courage to perform a risky surgery so that my son could still be with us. 

I ask myself why we are so “lucky” (ie. blessed) and so many other families are suffering. I could name a handful of local young Catholic families with several children who have lost a mom or a dad in the past six months. Whether it be from an accident, a freak illness or some other unexpected cause, these kids are now growing up without a mom or a dad.

Sometimes these thoughts make me weary and together with my daily tasks and taking care of an infant, exhaustion sets in. At these times I feel like I can relate to Jesus in today’s Gospel.

 “Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. [ ] He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.” Can you imagine how exhausted He must have been? If we have little ones, or work or daily tasks “pressing upon us” all day we just want to be left alone. We want some time to be quiet, to relax and to process. Yet, the crowds in this passage seem merciless. They were encroaching on His personal space. They were demanding. Yet, Jesus in his compassion, saw their need and did not deny them. He cured many and cast out evil spirits. 

So whenever we feel like our daily life is crowding us, pressing upon us or closing in on us, let us remember what Jesus did. He asked his disciples to ready a boat and he withdrew toward the sea. 

What does your boat look like? Where can you withdraw for some quiet time with our Lord? Perhaps you live on a lake and can gaze out on the water as Jesus did. Perhaps you have a prayer corner in your home or an office with religious images on the walls. Perhaps you have to lock yourself inside your room. Whatever it takes, don’t be afraid to get into your “boat” and withdraw with your Lord and God. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Saffu, https://unsplash.com/photos/DKXqf-NE-2Q